Quite a lot happened in a relatively short period of time for Sandro Wagner after he left Bayern Munich in 2019 for Chinese Super League side Tianjin TEDA. He terminated his contract with them in the summer of 2020 and announced his official retirement from playing shortly thereafter. He started managing SpVgg Unterhaching’s U-19s back in March of this year and was quickly promoted to first team manager of the senior squad this summer, taking over for Arie van Lent.
In a recent interview with Sport1 (via Abendzeitung), Wagner said he has bold ambitions of one day coaching in the Bundesliga. “I want to be an absolute top coach and get to the top. At the top for me is the Bundesliga. I want to train there someday,” the former Bundesliga striker said.
Admittedly, Wagner said it’s a learning curve with his new role as manager for Unterhaching’s senior team. He made a rather quick transition after retiring from his playing career to take on a managerial role, but he said he’s committed and “wants to get the most out of this job. I work very hard every day, have to gain a lot of experience and also need a few more years for my coaching certificates.” He still has to pursue getting his official coaching licenses and certificates to be able to manage in the top flight, but he said he “still has a lot of time” to do so.
The champions of each Regionalliga division are eligible for promotion to the 3.Liga, and this season the Regionalliga Bayern gets a direct promotion place and won’t have to go through a playoff. Unterhaching is currently fifth in the Regionalliga Bayern standings, 5 points adrift from league leaders Bayern Munich II, so he would have to get past Bayern reserves to earn Unterhaching promotion to the 3. Liga. While that might not be the club’s realistic goal at the moment, Wagner would like “to see maximum development in the next 24 months” at the club.
Having spent the 2016/2017 season at TSG Hoffenheim, Wagner has a solid relationship with Julian Naglesmann. “There is a modern culture of communication between us,” Wagner said, and he also described Bayern’s new manager as “a sensational coach, a talent of the century” and “just the right man for FC Bayern.” While he doesn’t yet have the managerial pedigree of Nagelsmann, there’s a lot Wagner can learn from his previous boss to apply to his role at Unterhaching. Perhaps one day we will see both Wagner and Nagelsmann managing in the Bundesliga.