What makes a fan favorite? The affection fans have for certain players varies from each unique scenario, but it’s fair to say that more often than not a fan favorite is a player that is loyal and hard working.
Sandro Wagner loves Bayern Munich and always showed that Bayern had a special place in his heart on the pitch. His dedication and love for his home-town club are two of many reasons why Sandro Wagner will remain one of my all-time favorite strikers.
As a supporter, it’s always nice to see players developed from the youth academy get first-team action. Born and raised in Munich, Sandro got his first minutes under Ottmar Hitzfeld in the 2007/08 season. Sandro was talented but was never seen as Munich’s new Number 9. The next season he moved on MSV Duisburg and the 2. Bundesliga.
Sandro’s ten-year absence from Munich is proof of his character and incredible dedication. Sandro had a successful U21 European Championship in 2009, where he scored two goals in the final against England. But the next few years were hard for Wagner. After Duisburg, Wagner moved to Bremen, where he scored just five league goals in two years. His time in Bremen was followed by a move to the capital and Hertha Berlin. Seven goals in three years were enough for Pal Dardai to force Sandro Wagner train by himself during the summer of 2015.
Since leaving Bayern, Wagner’s career had stagnated. In Bremen and Berlin, Wagner had struggled to cement his spot in the starting eleven. His move to Darmstadt was more successful.
Now sporting a musketeer-like goatee, the striker scored 14 goals in one season and helped Darmstadt avoid relegation. His return to Berlin showed Wagner’s true character. Seven minutes from full time, Wagner scored the winner for Darmstadt in a 2-1 victory at the Olympic Stadium. Darmstadt secured a Bundesliga contract for next season, Hertha lost their Champions League place. Some of the Hertha supporters in the east curve at the Olympiastadion had booed Wagner the whole match. After scoring, Wagner ran right towards the fans and clenched his fist, patted his chest and put his finger to his lips.
Wagner’s year at Hoffenheim was one of the most successful seasons of his career. Months before turning 30, Wagner received his first call-up to the German national team. He was part of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, which Germany won. Joachim Löw stated that Wagner had “maturity and personality and one who stands by his own opinion.”
His subsequent homecoming to Bayern at age 30 did not go to plan, although the dedication it took for Sandro to return to Munich is admirable. Every time Sandro put on a red and white shirt, you could see his pride. The third Musketeer from Munich is far from the best striker Bayern has ever had, but the love for the club, his hard-working attitude, and his personality made him a fan favorite.
This clip epitomizes Wagner’s character.
The Chinese league won’t know what hit them. Best of luck Sandro!