Sandro Wagner’s return to his home-town club was cut short almost a year ago today when it was confirmed that he would play for a non-German club for the first time of his career. Chinese club Tianjin Teda gave Wagner a “very attractive offer” and Wagner left Bayern Munich for the second time in his career.
Commenting on the initial culture clash and his professional performance with transfermarkt, Wagner described the starting difficulties of his China experience:
In the beginning, I had some problems to acclimatize. Just like many other foreign players have in the beginning, also because it’s a bit different style of football played here.
Wagner is far from the only foreign player to struggle to acclimatize in the World’s most populated country. Carlos Tevez, who had a reported wage of US$800,000 a week, described his time in China as a “holiday for seven months” and admitted that he wanted to return to Boca Juniors immediately after he landed in Shanghai.
It has gone better for Wagner. While Tevez only scored 4 goals for his club Shanghai Shenhua, Wagner has netted 12 goals in 26 matches. He commented:
I got used to everything more and more, its been going very well. I have been scoring regularly, is one of the key players in the team and even got to be the captain once.
Tianjin, China’s fourth-largest city, is located just south of Beijing. The football team, managed by German Uli Stielike, had a successful 2019, as they managed to achieve their goal of not getting relegated with ease as they finished in 7th place.
Still, Wagner, who started playing for Bayern Munich at the age of 8, does miss his home-town. Explaining how everything from food, air, and language in China is completely different, Wagner sees his future in Germany and Bayern:
Regret is the wrong word because going to China was a deliberate choice of mine. But clearly, I miss FC Bayern and all my friends there a lot and I am happy that I in the future will have the opportunity to come back and serve my club in another function.
You can take the boy out of Munich, but can’t take Munich out of the boy.