At the age of 16, Serge Gnabry joined Arsenal and completed his education in London before returning to Germany five years later. The now 23-year-old took his first steps in professional German football with Werder Bremen, who he will face with FC Bayern Munich on Wednesday 24th April in the DFB-Pokal semi final. Gnabry spoke to DFB.de about the atmosphere in the Weserstadion as well as his goal tally in the cup.
DFB.de: First Borussia Dortmund, then Schalke 04 – Werder Bremen have already defeated some strong opponents in this season’s DFB-Pokal. Why can Bayern put an end to their run?
Serge Gnabry: We know that cup games can turn out completely different to what you expect and in Werder Bremen we are facing a very, very strong side. But if we play the way we have been over the past two or three weeks, we are strong enough to defeat Werder and reach the final.
DFB.de: Will it be a special game for you? You spent the 2016/17 season with Werder Bremen.
Gnabry: Of course, the semi-final will be a very special highlight for me - Bremen was my first club back in Germany after my time abroad. I had a great year and still have a lot of friends there. I’m looking forward to returning and will soak up everything. It is a great stadium with a fantastic atmosphere.
DFB.de: How do you look back on your year with Bremen?
Gnabry: I fell in love with the club during my time there. I am pleased to see the club doing well and I’m looking forward to seeing my old friends.
DFB.de: Shortly before your transfer to FC Bayern, you were thrust into the limelight thanks to your impressive performances for Germany in the 2016 Olympic Games, a competition in which you finished as top scorer with six goals. How important was this tournament for your career?
Gnabry: Very important, because I could play a lot of matches and give some good performances in a big tournament in front of so many people.
DFB.de: In a previous interview, you described yourself as a player who takes a risk. How do you express that on the pitch?
Gnabry: Yes – it’s true that I enjoy taking a risk during a match. That’s probably down to my nature – I don’t hesitate much.
DFB.de: Would you say your characteristic of risk-taking was a reason behind your transfer to Arsenal at just 16 years old?
Gnabry: Definitely. Of course it took a lot of consideration and spoke about it with a lot of people and friends. A lot of people advised me against it, as so many others had tried the same thing and it didn’t work out well. But I didn’t shy away from taking a risk and decided to go for it. I told myself that I could do it - I feel that I can judge myself well and wanted to try something new. Arsenal is a club that has always given chances to its young players, so I took the step and I didn’t regret it.
DFB.de: Spending time abroad in your career means you have only played four DFB-Pokal games, but you’ve still scored three goals. Is that a good enough amount to help your team win the competition?
Gnabry: With potentially two games left to play, if I could score two or three more goals I think that would be a really good tally. And if we could lift the trophy in Berlin, it would be just perfect.
DFB.de: What would winning the DFB-Pokal mean to you?
Gnabry: It would be the second cup win for me after one in England. It is a title that you have to work hard for, because you can’t allow yourself to make any mistakes in this competition. It would be a dream come true if that were my second title in Germany – after the league title that we’re targeting this season.[mmc/bh] ###more###