He has already won his first Bundesliga title and is in the DFB-Pokal final (20:00 CEST, Saturday) as Bayern Munich take on RB Leipzig and could win the double on the weekend: Within a year, Serge Gnabry has become a star in the Bayern Munich and Germany national team.
He has done a lot on the field with his performances to earn his plaudits but it is also his demeanor that makes his popular. Uli Hoeneß likes these players. When the Bayern president met the 23-year-old forward the other day, he was ticked off by the forward for being late: “No, Mr. Hoeneß, I’ve been waiting for 30 minutes. The appointment was supposed to be half an hour ago;” said Gnabry. Uli Hoeneß described him as “a funny guy” who will say things as they are.
The number 22 then went onto explain his reasons as to why he chose to become a vegan, to the sausage manufacturer Hoeneß. His new sense of well-being and a reduced risk to injury are reasons as to why he chose veganism, but it will not last forever. Gnabry promises that we will make changes if he loses his top form.
There is no real reason as to why the winger from Hoffenheim is ‘the positive surprise of the season,” according to Hoeneß. Gnabry was also called the “star of the season” by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. He initially caught the eye of the once world-class striker during the 2016 Olympics when he scored six goals in six games and was top goal scorer with Nils Peterson.
When Horst Hrubesch was head coach of Germany U21s, he tried hard to get the former Arsenal youngster in the team. The European Champion from 1980 knows when a striker has the quality to go to the top. Gnabry’s surge in performances was only logical for him. “Who if not him,” asked Hrubesch rhetorically. “Who else could make it?”
Hrubesch sees no limits to Gnabry’s goal scoring ability and guesses that the forward will score 15 to 20 goals next season. The man who can play in any attacking position, cracked the two-digit mark again this season, scoring ten goals and became only the third player to score ten or more goals for three seasons in a row for three clubs (others being Erwin Kostedde 1974-1977 for Offenbach, Hertha and Dortmund and Jürgen Wegmann 1985-1988 for Dortmund, Schalke and Bayern).
This attacking prowess which Gnabry possesses allows him to strike the ball hard and with a lot of precision from long range. The former Werder Bremen and Arsenal youngster is also often able to anticipate certain situations meaning he is only needing to register the right connection to force the ball home. Gnabry has earned comparisons to Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge with his speed and courageous dribbling as well as the occasional cheeky shot. Additionally, Bayern head coach Niko Kovac, who watches Gnabry’s progress daily at training, emphasised his positive development. However, the Croatian wants Gnabry to work more consistently on defensive duties and also to be more exposed to the harshness of international competition.
Gnabry’s attitude at Bayern has been “excellent” and Kovac has described the 23 year-old as “polite, friendly, nice.” Gnabry is also direct and smart – just like his style of play on the pitch. He is reflective and serious, especially regarding his efforts to combat racism and to fight for tolerance and moral courage in his father’s native country the Ivory Coast. Gnabry is planning a large scale social project there for the near future.
As FC Bayern Munich prepare to say goodbye to Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben, collectively knowm as “Robbéry,” Gnabry may form half of a new “Cobry” duo for the record Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal champions alongside Kingsley Coman. Gnabry was able to step in for the aging duo in the Bayern team, meaning that two of Bayern’s big names were forced to watch on from the bench. Gnabry may also provide Germany’s long term answer to their doubts surrounding the centre forward role. When asked about potentially taking up this role, Gnabry replied: “I’ve done it before for youth teams in Ditzingen.”
For both Bayern and Die Mannschaft, Gnabry has provided a fresh sense of optimism for the future. Alongside RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner and Manchester City’s Leroy Sané, Gnabry is set to play an important role in Joachim Löw’s attack for UEFA Euro 2020 and beyond. The 23 year-old is aware of the task at hand and spoke on behalf of the new young generation for Die Mannschaft: “We know we could be the future.”
Serge Gnabry has made a promising start both with Bayern and with Die Mannschaft. However, this has come as no surprise for the aspiring 23 year-old. “I have always thought I would be capable of living up to expectations.”###more###