Wagner: I'm captivated by this club
Former FCB youth player Sandro Wagner toured the footballing world for nine and a half years, but he received an early festive present when he signed a contract with FC Bayern a few days before Christmas. The 30-year-old talked to club journal Bayern Magazin about his return to Munich. *fcbayern.com*presents extracts from the extensive interview.
Sandro, there's usually no room for sentimentality in football. But your return to Munich had a romantic aspect, don't you think?
Wagner: I don't know how others perceived it, but that's true for me. I grew up here, in my youth I was at the Säbener Strasse on an almost daily basis for more than ten years. I was in the South Stand or a ball boy for home matches at the Olympic Stadium, and the club has just captivated and fascinated me since then. Returning home really is a dream move for me.
Looking back on the first two thirds of your career, would you do anything differently today?
It would have been my big wish to play here from the start of course, like Thomas Müller or David Alaba. But I wasn't ready for the big leap then for various reasons, I have to be honest. So I made a detour and tried to learn something new everywhere I went, not only in terms of football but in real life too. I'm very grateful for the experience I've been able to gain. Every single club and situation has made me the person I am today. And I'm quite satisfied with it.
What does your wife say about your being at home so often all of a sudden?
Very good question! (laughing) We completed a one-week training camp at the beginning. But she's slowly getting used to it.
Seriously: your family has lived in the south of Munich for the last few years but you played at Darmstadt and Hoffenheim. How did it work out?
It was very exhausting. When I left Berlin in the summer of 2015 my wife returned to Unterhaching with the kids because we didn't want the kids constantly having to adapt to new environments. I travelled by car two or three times a week, which amounted to several thousands of kilometres per month.
You're not the only one who's made enormous progress over the last ten years. FC Bayern too have grown massively. Did you have to settle in all over again?
When I left the entire head office was located in the old administrative building, there was no underground car park and the professionals' quarters were on the ground floor - it's a three-storey building now! A lot has changed here. On the other hand I was really glad to see so many familiar faces, people who were here ten years ago. It shows FC Bayern are a big club and a global brand but still pay attention to a family environment.
You've clocked up 62 Bundesliga minutes at the Allianz Arena so far. Are you looking forward to your return against Bremen on Sunday?
Very much so! Especially because I'm playing for the home team now instead of only chasing the ball as an opponent.