In a recent interview with DAZN (captured via Bundesliga.com), Gnabry revealed how much influence current RB Leipzig manager and former Hoffenheim manager Julian Nagelsmann had on him. After failed spells with both Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion in England, Gnabry moved to Werder Bremen and was then bought by Bayern in 2017 and loaned out to Hoffenheim for one season.
That loan to Hoffenheim was something Gnabry himself wanted to do before joining Bayern. He views his season under Nagelsmann at Hoffenheim as a very important part of his growth and development as a player. In the DAZN interview, he recalled making the switch to the Bundesliga from the Premier League in the first place:
Then came the decision to join Werder Bremen. I got a lot of game time there and was able to maintain the rhythm I had generated at the Olympics. I said to myself: ‘Before I go to Bayern, I want to take another step and I want to get closer to playing continuously. That step was Hoffenheim.
Playing against Hoffenheim with Werder Bremen, Gnabry revealed, he became a big fan of the way Nagelsmann got his team to play, and he knew that he wanted to play for him at some point:
Julian Nagelsmann fascinated me. Before that, the season before I had played against Hoffenheim and in the second half of the season… well… we took a real hiding, but their style of play appealed to me, it was so attacking.
Nagelsmann, who clearly recognized Ganbry’s versatility, used him in a multitude of different positions. He played as a false 9, an outright striker, a central attacking midfielder, and a wide attacking midfielder, which has been on display with his time at Bayern as well. In that 2017/2018 season with Hoffenheim, Gnabry scored 10 goals and provided 7 assists in the league. He knew Bayern was the next “logical” step for his career:
I think, after the season I had in Hoffenheim, Bayern was the next logical step and that’s where I want to really make my mark. My path was longer and I had to work my hardest and give my best at all times. I personally believe you get back what you put in, not just in football, but in everything.
Looking forward, Gnabry is hungry for another domestic double for Bayern this season and also aims to make a strong push in the Champions League. He’s ready to pick up where he left off last season, on a high note:
The aim is clear. After winning the Bundesliga title and the DFB Cup with Bayern, I want to win the UEFA Champions League. A big source of motivation for me comes from wanting to pick up where I left off last season, get even better and to produce even better performances. No one can provide any guarantees in football, no matter who you are. So you should never rest on what you achieved last season or the season before that.
Serge Gnabry has since established himself as one of Bayern Munich’s most important midfielders, coming off one of the best seasons of his career (2018/2019), scoring 13 goals and providing 9 assists from 42 appearances across competitions. He was an integral attacking piece for Niko Kovac, especially in the Rückrunde, with 9 of his goals coming in the second half of the season en route to Bayern’s domestic double.