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5-1! Sandro Wagner predicted Bayern Munich’s victory — and Kovac’s departure?

Bayern’s biggest fan in the Far East tipped Bayern to win and got it exactly right. But he also thinks Bayern will find “new game ideas” — other than Kovac’s?

TIANJIN, CHINA - MARCH 29: Sandro Wagner #9 of Tianjin Teda reacts during the third round match of 2019 Chinese Football Association Super League (CSL) between Tianjin Teda and Guangzhou R&F at Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium on March 29, 2019 in Tianjin, China.
Sandro Wagner living large in Tianjin, China. Here playing against Guangzhou R&F at Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium on March 29, 2019.
Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Sandro Wagner knows a thing or two about “Mia san mia.” While some wondered whether Bayern Munich would show the grit and determination to clinch the Bundesliga title after faltering against Leipzig the week before, the Munich native and Bayern Munich academy product never doubted. Even in March, he predicted — correctly — that his Bayern teammates Thomas Müller, Mats Hummels, and Jerome Boateng would bounce back after they were unceremoniously cut from the German national team.

Now, in a new column for Bild published two days before the final match, Wagner laid his cards on the table and called a 5-1 victory for Bayern:

On Saturday, everything is on the line — a matchday practically made for FC Bayern. With all due respect for Frankfurt, especially for the way they represented Germany internationally: Bayern will make everything clear with a 5-1 and celebrate their next championship title, and this time especially emotionally in their own arena.

Wagner expected great things from the three players who bade the fans farewell in the match: Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, and Rafinha. Wagner wrote,

I know exactly how Arjen and Franck will really rally the boys to give them a proper sendoff — as is only fitting for two legends. And please do not forget Rafa! My Brazilian friend has enjoyed a high standing in the team all these years and was an extremely important character player, who unfortunately often got short shrift in the public perception.

Praise for the front office, silence about Kovac

What more, Wagner was confident that Bayern would conclude the season with a double. Uli Hoeness, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, and Hasan Salihamidzic “know how they will continue to set things up successfully in the summer break.” His omission of head coach Niko Kovac, however, was striking. Wagner predicted,

This year FCB will come out of the season with two titles — and then after the summer break attack full-on again on the international stage: with new players and definitely with new game ideas...

“...with new game ideas” (mit neuen Spiel-Ideen)? Is that a parting shot at Kovac? Wittingly or unwittingly, Wagner echos the oft-heard criticism that Kovac’s Bayern lacks a clear “game concept” or “offensive idea.”

Wagner himself was among the players who were frustrated under Kovac, a fact that precipitated his departure from the club after little more than a year. Wagner was named among the players frustrated with Kovac’s rotation policy in early October, and he spoke candidly about his frustration over his lack of minutes later that month.

Life in the Chinese Super League

Wagner had a few things to say about his experience thus far in the CSL. He’ll be playing through the summer until the CSL’s winter break. Tianjin TEDA is “solidly in seventh place” and Wagner has contributed an assist so far in 8 games.

According to him, Tianjin is glad he can “throw in all 92 of my Bavarian kilograms for the team.” He says that he is greeted by about twenty to thirty Chinese Bayern fans at the train station or airport for every away game.

To be honest, it makes me proud to be able to make happy the FC Bayern fans dressed in red-and-white from head to toe with selfies and autographs. Virtually as a Bayern ambassador. And, at least officially, as new German Champion as of Saturday, 5:20pm [German time].

Wagner transferred to Tianjin TEDA in the Chinese Super League for a final adventure abroad shortly before the winter transfer window closed in January.

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