He could barely sleep after his debut Bayern Munich appearance, gave his FCB shirt to his mother and all after accepting a bet from coach Jupp Heynckes. It’s all about the rise of Kwasi Okyere Wriedt – the forward hoping to leap onto the world stage in Bavarian red.
It started with a summer move to Säbener Strasse from VfL Osnabrück – the German third tier team for whom Wriedt racked up 12 goals and nine assists in 39 games in 2016/17. The Hamburg-born striker declared himself “ready for the challenge,” after he was snapped up by a Bayern outfit excited by the powerful player’s prospects.
A path that had started out at SC Hamm and taken in stints at FC St. Pauli’s reserves and LSK Hansa, eventually led to, “The most beautiful day of my career.” The words Wriedt uttered after making his senior Bayern bow against RB Leipzig in a DFB Cup second round encounter were touching.
And they would have been even more pronounced had he scored the game’s winner in extra-time with a header that crashed off the crossbar. As it was, Heynckes’s men advanced on penalties, and Wriedt’s mom got his shirt.
“I give the [jersey] to my mother because she has supported me from day one,” the striker, born to Ghanaian parents, said. “She is an important person in my life, if not the most important. I had already promised her that I would send her the jersey if I made my first-team debut.”
It’s been a steady progression for Wriedt so far this season, goals in friendly games preceding a first senior squad call up for the Matchday eight fixture against Freiburg. All the while, he has been performing admirably for Bayern’s reserves, managing nine goals in 13 appearances.
Then came the Cup trip to the Red Bull Arena and a wager with Heycnkes. “[The coach] bet that I would score and I honestly had a good feeling in that game,” the 23-year-old explained. His extra-time introduction yielded 19 minutes playing time, and delivered memories to savour.
“If somebody told me two years ago that I was going to play for Bayern, I would have said they were crazy,” Wriedt explained. “You always dream of doing [such a thing] one day [but] I still can’t believe it. I am just so happy the coach gave me some minutes and the team supported me on the pitch,” he added.
“[Jupp Heynkes] said I should go out and score the decisive goal, but I hit the crossbar. It was a pity but we were nonetheless happy to have made it into the next round [following success in the shoot-out]. I’m not sure if I will be able to sleep after this, I think my eyes will be open for the rest of the night and I’ll be going over it all again.”
Injuries to Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller have advanced Wriedt’s chances of making a maiden Bundesliga appearance. The Polish superstar is in the running to return for the Bavarian derby against Augsburg at the weekend, but Wriedt will wait keenly on standby. In the meantime, the former Ghana U20 international is happy to bide his time and work hard.
“I look to give my all every training session; for me, each workout is something special. I try to advance and to learn," he said. "[The coach] has given me advice and we talk a lot while assistants Mr. [Hermann] Gerland and Mr. [Peter] Hermann also give me tips. The players too try to make things as easy as possible for me.”
His confidence high and form true, it seems only a matter of time before Kwasi Okyere Wriedt is offering his mother one more Bayern Munich shirt for her to cherish.