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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 February 2019

Sandro Wagner leaves Bayern Munich to link up with Uli Stielike at China's Tianjin Teda

German forward asked to be released from his Bayern contract in order to move to Chinese Super League

Bayern Munich forward Sandro Wagner has been released from his contract with the German club to join Tianjin Teda. AFP
Bayern Munich forward Sandro Wagner has been released from his contract with the German club to join Tianjin Teda. AFP

Sandro Wagner has become the latest high-profile foreign recruit to the Chinese Super League after the Bayern Munich forward asked to be released from his contract to join Tianjin Teda.

Wagner, 31, came through the youth ranks at Bayern before stints at Werder Bremen, Hertha Berlin and Hoffenheim before returning to the Bundesliga champions in January 2018 on a two-year contract.

Capped eight times by Germany, Wagner missed out on a World Cup spot in Russia last year, in which the reigning world champions suffered a humiliating exit at the group phase. The snub prompted Wagner to announce his international retirement just 12 months after winning his first cap. He scored five goals for the national team.

Wagner has been a peripheral figure in manager Niko Kovac's plans this term, featuring in only 12 games in all competitions with just a solitary strike to his name as Bayern trail Borussia Dortmund in the title race by six points.

"Sandro Wagner came to us and asked to be released," Bayern sports director Hasan Salihamidzic said in a statement. "He has a very attractive offer from China. We thank Sandro and wish him all the best and lots of success in China."

Waiting for him in Tianjin will be former Germany international Uli Stielike, the manager who is seeking fresh reinforcements after several seasons of struggle. Tianjin finished a disappointing 14th-place finish in the 16-team CSL last term to narrowly avoid relegation.

No details have been given about the length of Wagner's contract or his salary with the northern Chinese club. Wagner's wife Denise and their three children will join him in China, according to Germany daily Bild.

Wagner spent 11 years in Bayern's junior teams before making his professional debut with the senior team in 2007. He left in 2008 only to return last January, scoring 10 goals in 34 games while largely playing back-up to first-choice centre-forward Robert Lewandowski.

In his 180 Bundesliga matches for all clubs Wagner has scored a total of 44 goals, winning two Bundesliga titles with Bayern.

The Chinese season begins on March 1.

Updated: January 30, 2019 03:03 PM

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