Serge Gnabry was the standout performer in Hoffenheim’s 5-2 loss to Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Saturday. His loan to Hoffenheim ends after this season, and Bayern have made it clear that the 22-year-old will return to Munich in the summer (BILD). Gnabry’s first-half performance, ironically enough, gave Bayern a glimpse of the player he could be for the Bavarians.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side took a 2-0 lead inside of 12 minutes thanks largely to Gnabry. First, Gnabry drew a penalty from Joshua Kimmich who fouled him on a surging run into Bayern’s penalty. Mark Uth scored on the rebound from the spot kick after Sven Ulreich denied Gnabry the penalty shot itself. Just 9 minutes later it was Gnabry who fired his side 2-0 up in the 13th minute with a venomous right-footed effort that gave Ulreich little to no chance of stopping.
The 22-year-old’s exploits were, of course, completely undone by Bayern’s overwhelming response: five unanswered goals by Robert Lewandowski, Jerome Boateng, Kingsley Coman, Arturo Vidal, and Sandro Wagner. Despite Hoffenheim’s heavy loss by a three-goal margin, Jupp Heynckes lauded Gnabry’s performance in his post-match press conference (via ESPN):
Gnabry is a great talent. You have to bear in mind that he’s a player who has had to cope with a lot of injuries already in his young career with many absences. Last week he was very strong in the first half too against Leverkusen with some great play. But he’s a young player, who has to absorb life as a professional, working, training and playing at a high level. He still has room for improvement.
Gnabry’s valiant performance gave Bayern a brief glimpse of what he might bring to the squad once rejoins the ranks over the summer. Since Franck Ribery’s and Arjen Robben’s contracts expire at the end of the season, and neither have been extended yet, there is still ample scope for increased opportunities for Gnabry among Bayern’s forwards.
Gnabry’s blistering pace and wide presence could see him build a lethal partnership with Coman on the flanks, especially if Ribery and/or Robben are on their way(s) or find their playing time reduced. If Heynckes rates Gnabry so highly, there’s certainly no doubt that Bayern’s next manager should do so, as well.
The future with Gnabry at Bayern looks bright indeed!
Bayern's future is very bright— Bayern mania (@Bayern_mania) January 20, 2018
- Leon Goretzka
- Kingsley Coman
- Serge Gnabry
- Joshua Kimmich
- Coretin Tolisso
- Renato Sanches
- Alex Timossi
- Marco Friedl
- Christian Fruchtl
- James Rodriguez pic.twitter.com/ySNomqE4Yu