Is Sandro Wagner the man to replace Mario Gomez as Germany's spearhead?

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Germany coach Joachim Low is largely treating the Confederations Cup as a chance to blood a fresh generation of talent ahead of next year's World Cup.

But an experimental squad also includes Hoffenheim forward Sandro Wagner, who at 29 is a relative late bloomer in terms of international football.

Wagner is one of only two out-and-out strikers to have been named in Joachim Low's squad for the tournament, along with Timo Werner of RB Leipzig.

Experienced Wolfsburg striker Mario Gomez has typically won the place up front since the retirement of Miroslav Klose, but Wagner and Werner will have the chance to impress in Russia.

Wagner appears to be at the front of the queue - he started Germany's last two international matches - but how do his statistics match up when compared to Gomez?

 

COMPARING MEDALS

Gomez : Three Bundesliga titles, two DFB-Pokals, one Champions League, one DFL-Supercup, one Turkish Super Lig

Wagner : One Bundesliga title, one DFB-Pokal

Gomez has the edge when it comes to medals, with two of his league titles and both DFB-Pokal triumphs coming with Bayern, while Wagner's medals were also won with Die Roten but he was little more than a bit-part player at Bayern.

International success has eluded Gomez, though. In 2014, Gomez - also a league winner with Stuttgart and Besiktas - was omitted from Germany's World Cup-winning squad, while he was a runner-up with Die Mannschaft at Euro 2008.

Individual accolades have also come Gomez's way, with the 31-year-old being named German Footballer of the Year in 2007, while he was the Bundesliga's top scorer in the 2010-11 season.

 

LAST SEASON'S STATS

Gomez in the Bundesliga :

33 games

16 goals

84 shots

680 passes

29 fouls won

Wagner in the Bundesliga:

31 games

11 goals

65 shots

794 passes

84 fouls won

While Gomez was a more prolific goalscorer, Wagner's statistics for last season's Bundesliga campaign suggest he may have a stronger all-round game.

Wagner won far more fouls than Gomez and completed over 100 more passes, while his passing accuracy at 63.1 per cent is also slightly better than Gomez's 62.7 per cent.

Gomez did create 38 chances for his Wolfsburg team-mates, however, which compares favourably with Wagner's less impressive tally of 17.

 

EUROPEAN AND INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE 

Wagner has come out of nowhere to become Germany's likely frontline striker at the Confederations Cup, with the 29-year-old having never scored more than five goals in a league season before the last two years.

But while Wagner is yet to find the net in five appearances in European competitions - the most recent of those matches coming for Werder Bremen in 2010 - Gomez has hit the net 42 times in 81 European games for his clubs.

For the German national team, Wagner has scored three goals in two games - although all of them came against San Marino, his first ever hat-trick as a professional footballer - while Gomez has a goal ratio of 0.4 after scoring 30 Germany goals in 70 appearances for his country.

On average Gomez takes 128 minutes to score for Germany compared to Wagner's 52 minutes, but the Hoffenheim man will likely struggle to maintain that ratio against higher-quality opposition, while Gomez failed to score in 71 minutes on the pitch for Germany against San Marino in November 2016 despite his team winning the game 8-0.

 

IS LOW A FAN?

With Germany having a perfect record of six wins from their six World Cup qualifiers so far, it is no wonder Low has decided he can afford to name experimental teams at the Confederations Cup.

And the coach was full of praise for Wagner after he struck a treble against San Marino in Germany's last match, telling reporters: "He's using his body well and is not easy to defend against. He is a player with maturity and personality and one who stands by his own opinion."

Low has not always seemed convinced by Gomez despite his decent goal record for the world champions and it seems that the spot up front is available ahead of next year's World Cup in Russia. 

If Wagner is to steal it - with Gomez still the most likely candidate for the role - he will not get a better chance to impress than at the Confederations Cup this month.