With Thomas Müller out injured for some weeks with a hamstring injury, Bayern Munich’s decision not to strengthen their squad in the summer with the acquisition of an additional striker looks a little suspect now. God forbid if anything happens to the prolific Pole, Robert Lewandowski,because Bayern would find themselves in a bit of a bind.
Or would they? Do they in fact have a jewel in their own ranks in the form of 23-year-old Kwasi Okyere Wriedt?
Wriedt’s appearance as an extra-time substitute in the DFB Pokal win had many viewers wondering just who he was. But those in the know at the Sabener Straße have every confidence in the Hamburg-born striker following an impressive start at the club with Bayern Munich II in the Regionalliga.
Wriedt, a German with Ghanaian heritage, started out at the other end of the country in his home city first with the youth team at Concordia Hamburg and then St.Pauli, initially with the juniors and then with St.Pauli II in the Regionalliga Nord.
The 2015-16 season saw him signed by Lüneburger SK, but he was only there for one season because 23 goals in 34 games brought the attention of Dritte Liga side VfL Osnabrück, who signed him. In the tier above the Regionalliga, Wriedt hit 12 goals in his 36 appearances. He began this season at Osnabrück and played in the first three games, before Bayern approached to sign him.
In fact the forward played for VfL Osnabrück on the Wednesday against Fortuna Köln, signed for Bayern Munich II on the Friday, and was thrust straight into the team that very same day without having even trained with or met his new team mates. That didn’t affect Wriedt though as he opened the scoring in a 2-1 home win over Schweinfurt.
Nine goals in twelve Regionalliga games for Tim Walter’s Bayern II have given new Bayern trainer Jupp Heynckes the confidence to put Wriedt on the bench for the recent Bundesliga clashes with both SC Freiburg and Hamburg.
He was again named amongst the substitutes on Wednesday for the eagerly anticipated Cup clash with Leipzig and was as surprised as most when Jupp Heynckes sent him on in the 101st minute to replace Thiago. It was almost an inspired switch as the striker hit the bar with a header three minutes after his introduction.
Speaking to reporters after the match Wriedt confessed his astonishment at his debut saying, “If someone had told me two years ago that I’d play for Bayern one day, I would have told them they were crazy. I can hardly believe it. I don’t know what’s going on here. I’m simply really happy and proud that the trainer has given me these minutes and that the team supported me on the pitch.”
Ghana have capped the youngster at U-20 level and will be hoping he hits the heights of the only other Ghanaian to play for Bayern Munich, Sammy Kuffour.
At 1.87m tall, Wriedt is a powerful striker with pace to boot. He’s naturally two-footed and is not just an out-and-out goal-getter — he is a provider as well. Whether this elevation to the Bayern first-team is just a fleeting moment, or whether as Jérôme Boateng believes, Bayern have a ‘natural born talent’ remains to be seen.
Kwasi Okyere Wriedt may well justify Bayern’s decision not to splash out on an expensive Robert Lewandowski back-up in the summer.
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