Serge Gnabry scored five points for the autumn championship title for FC Bayern Munich in his old home in Stuttgart. The gala appearance provided hymns of praise from coach Julian Nagelsmann – and could represent a turning point for the 26-year-old winger.
It is well known that it is most beautiful at home, but for Serge Gnabry it is obviously a little nicer in old homes. In the 5-0 win of his FC Bayern against VfB Stuttgart on Tuesday evening, he scored five points in one game for the second time in his career. Its premiere in this regard was in autumn 2019 in a 7-2 win against Tottenham Hotspur.
Gnabry had his two most successful individual appearances both at old homes: He was born in Stuttgart and played in the youth department at VfB, and in London he missed his breakthrough at Arsenal FC. The 7: 2 at Tottenham once meant the last great sense of achievement for ex-coach Niko Kovac, the 5: 0 in Stuttgart now the autumn championship. The lead over Borussia Dortmund is nine points before their game against Greuther Fürth.
The fact that Gnabry of all people, with his three goals and two assists on Robert Lewandowski, fixed this title, which actually isn’t one, was not at all consistent. It’s not his season after all, no. At least not yet. So far, it has mainly been Leroy Sane’s (25) season, who got off to a brutal start a year after moving from Manchester City. And also more likely the season of Kingsley Coman (25), who has been in top form since his heart operation.
But Gnabry? He was recently clearly overshadowed by his two rivals on the wing positions – and in the eight competitive games before Stuttgart only once in the starting line-up. Ironically, there was a 2-1 defeat at FC Augsburg. That was a long time ago, almost a month.
Serge Gnabry’s good number in the summer
Gnabry’s starting position in the summer was actually excellent for a number of reasons. With Julian Nagelsmann came a trainer who knew and valued him. The two worked together successfully on Gnabry’s loan to TSG Hoffenheim in the 2017/18 season. In the first home game of the season, Gnabry then scored his team with a brace to beat 1. FC Köln 3-2. Sane was whistled by his own fans, Coman was missing and had to undergo heart surgery shortly afterwards.
Gnabry was set, as always since his arrival in Munich in 2018. He continued to convince, but did not collect scorer points as consistently as the steadily increasing Sane. At some point Coman returned, Nagelsmann had to choose and he decided against Gnabry. “It’s extremely difficult,” he said of the groundbreaking bench in a Champions League away game in mid-October at Benfica Lisbon. “There is actually no reason because he played very well in the last few games.”
Since then, however, the other two have played very well. For the first time, Gnabry lost his regular place at Bayern in the medium term. He no longer made headlines with goals, but with his vaccination status. Just like four of his colleagues, Gnabry initially refused a corona vaccination, which is why he had to be quarantined. He has now caught up with the sting, but adductor and back problems plagued him. In the meantime, he did not deliver any scorer points during his short missions.
Serge Gnabry’s gala appearance at VfB Stuttgart
In Stuttgart it was finally enough again for a starting eleven. Sane, who got a break after ten starting eleven in a row, had to give way. This turned out to be shorter than expected, which Gnabry benefited from. First of all, Bayern’s offensive game paralyzed with Gnabry on the right and Coman on the unfamiliar left wing. Without ideas. Harmless.
Coman soon injured his right thigh, whereupon the self-confident Sane was substituted on in the 27th minute and immediately gave his team creative impetus and determination. In fact, it was only in Stuttgart that Sane’s substitution triggered Gnabry’s explosion, and fittingly, he also presented him with his first goal. A flick that Nagelsmann gave the rating “outstanding”. Incidentally, that’s exactly what he called his first submission on Lewandowski.
In between, Gnabry scored another goal, then added an assist and a goal while switching sides with the strong Sane several times. It was almost reminiscent of the 8-0 win against FC Schalke 04 at the beginning of last season, when the two ran together for FC Bayern for the first time, each scored three points and creative people invented the “Sabry” wing tongs.
Julian Nagelsmann advocates extension with Gnabry
For Gnabry, the gala appearance in Stuttgart could have been a turning point for the better. At least in the final first round match on Friday against VfL Wolfsburg, he should be in the starting line-up again because of his outstanding performance but also because of Coman’s injury. By the way, the two have in common not only a fight for a starting place, but also for a new contract.
Both are still tied to FC Bayern until 2023, and the long-term future of both is unclear. “I don’t ask questions every day,” said Nagelsmann, when asked about the club’s contract talks with Gnabry. “With my work with him, I signal to the player that I would like to continue working with him. I have known Serge for ages and appreciate him as a person and as a player anyway. I would like nothing more than that he should extend.”
For FC Bayern, staying with Gnabry would be important in two ways: On the one hand, because he embodies world class on good days. And on the other hand, because he likes to mark five scorer points at old places of work.