Four goals in a 7-2 win against former rivals Tottenham Hotspur in October followed by a brace against Chelsea in Bayern Munich’s round of 16 tie remains a perfect testament to describe the rise of a certain Serge Gnabry.
Once a youth product of Arsenal’s famed academy, Gnabry found it hard to settle in at the Emirates before finally realizing his potential back home with Bayern Munich, and has turned out to be the star many had said he would be.
North London is RED!!! pic.twitter.com/1Te5YjqpWo— Serge Gnabry (@SergeGnabry) October 1, 2019
The winger seemingly did enough to impress then Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, making his senior debut at the young age of 17 in 2013. However, 18 appearances in his first two seasons as a professional marred by a knee injury, meant game time was hard to come at the North London club.
He eventually moved to West Brom on loan in 2015, where he made just one Premier League appearance. The Baggies manager, Tony Pulis told the press he wasn't ready for top-flight football, and this marked a move back to Germany, joining Werder Bremen in August 2016.
"Definitely it was after the West Brom spell," Gnabry said while speaking to BBC about his decision to return to Germany.
"I knew that I needed to play again at a high level, and I think Germany in the couple of years since I moved had progressed a lot. I didn't see a lot of game time at Arsenal the next season. That was the key factor."
Playing under Alexander Nouri at Werder Bremen, Gnabry scored 11 league goals in that 2016-17 campaign, which earned him a dream move to Bayern Munich in 2017.
The German champions reportedly paid a measly eight million euros, a bargain considering the outcome of the move for the club. However, he had to wait another season before playing for the Bavarians, and spent the 2017-18 season on loan, scoring another 10 goals in 22 Bundesliga games.
However, last season was the breakthrough one for the winger, as former Bayern stars Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben taught him the value of practising outside his comfort zone and developing a winning mentality.
His hard work and commitment to better himself has paid off since, with Gnabry already scalping more goals then he did last season in fewer appearances.
His form for the national team has also been more than impressive. Gnabry was given his senior international debut in November 2016 on the back of an impressive run at the Rio Olympics, where he finished as the joint-top scorer as Germany won the silver medal. His debut game was more than impressive, with Gnabry announcing himself with a hat-trick against San Marino. He has scored 10 goals in 11 international appearances for Germany, and a record 13 times in 13 appearances.
If not for the global pandemic, his prowess at the international level would have been showcased at the UEFA Euros this year, where Germany were been drawn with incumbent European champions, Portugal as well as world champions France.
While Gnabry has already established himself as a star for the future, his brilliant run of form with the Bavarians has done nothing to personally affect his down to earth approach as he remains grateful to the guidance he has received from star players like Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker as well as his Bayern teammates Robben and Ribery.
This inspires the 24-year-old winger to always help out his younger mates, seeing himself as a role model. He says, "You have a voice that people will listen to because you are famous and a lot of young kids especially look up to you. You can set an example and be heard more than other people would be, even if they had the same intentions. Everyone has talent, but the earlier you take it seriously, the better the results will come. I have experienced that now."
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Glyn Kirk