After picking up a thigh injury in the Club World Cup final, Serge Gnabry returned to practice this week and started on the bench in Bayern Munich’s match again 1. FC Köln. Mr. Bayern, Thomas Müller also returned to the bench for the first time since recovering from COVID-19. After leading 2-0 at the half, Bayern found their lead cut in half in the initial minutes of the second half. Rejuvenated after pulling a goal back, Köln was putting relentless pressure on Bayern. Hansi Flick looked to his bench for answers, and boy did he get it right.
In the 64th minute, Flick brought on both Gnabry and Müller and they had an immediate impact. Literally seconds after coming on, Gnabry dummied a ball, leaving it for Müller who assisted Lewandowski’s goal. At 3-1 the game was probably out of reach for Köln, but Gnabry tacked on two goals of his own to secure the three points for Bayern.
After the match, Gnabry spoke to the media about the about the decisive double substitution. “Before Thomas and I came on it was very choppy for us. We weren’t playing so dominant anymore. We tried to breathe life into the game and directly came the 3-1. Then everything came easier.”
Gnabry also spoke about the lack of concentration at times. “We can no longer have these shaky phases in a match. You cannot say that in 90 minutes you cant allow anything, but we must see to it that we keep these phases shorter.”
Holding on to a narrow two-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga table, Bayern can’t afford stretches like they had before Gnabry and Müller came on against better opponents. Hopefully getting the team back to full health, veterans like Müller and Gnabry — among others on the team — can help the team keep the focus on the way to a ninth straight Meisterschale!