Serge Gnabry surprised many with his solid 2018/19 season, becoming an important player for Bayern Munich. Expect the 24-year-old to elevate his game to an even higher level and become a star player for the Bavarians during the 2019/20 season.
Serge Gnabry Will Be Bayern’s Star This Season
A Long Time Coming
When Bayern Munich announced their purchase of Serge Gnabry from Werder Bremen two summers ago, many questioned whether or not the €8 million they spent would prove a good purchase or simply a waste of cash. Since then, Gnabry has provided a clear answer to his doubters.
At the time, Gnabry had just one season of Bundesliga experience under his belt. Bayern figured his breakout season with Werder Bremen was not quite enough experience for him to transition well into life in the Bavarian capital, so they sent him on loan to Julian Nagelsmann’s Hoffenheim.
Gnabry continued to shine as a versatile attacking option under Nagelsmann, reaching double digits in goals for his second consecutive season in Germany.
Nevertheless, many still doubted the former Arsenal player when Bayern decided he would become a member of the first team under Niko Kovac last summer.
As is often the case, it took the versatile attacker a little bit of time to acclimate to his new club. By the end of the season, though, Gnabry had established himself as a vital player under Niko Kovac. He finished the year as Bayern’s second top scorer in the Bundesliga, reaching double digits in goals for a single season for the third time.
Add his five assists to that goal tally, and it becomes clear that Gnabry played a key role for Bayern last season. Or else, take a look at the raw data of how his side fared both with and without him.
“With Gnabry in the starting XI, Bayern averaged 2.6 points per game with 2.8 goals scored and 0.8 conceded. With the 23-year-old watching on from the bench, they averaged 1.8 points per game, with 2.3 goals scored and 1.2 conceded” (via Bundesliga.com). Clearly, Bayern were all the better with their number 22 on the pitch.
Under normal circumstances, all eyes would be on Gnabry heading into the new season. A relatively young offensive player coming off a solid debut campaign, it would not be unusual for Gnabry to bear some heavy expectations for the upcoming year.
This summer, however, Bayern fans have placed their expectations elsewhere. Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery have both left the club, and many are simply waiting for Die Roten to announce a big signing for the wings. Whoever it is that makes the move to Munich — the Bayern board are doing all they can to make that player Leroy Sane — will be under the most scrutiny from both fans and the media.
Even Kingsley Coman will have more pressure placed on him than Gnabry. The Frenchman has been on the cusp of lifting his game to the next level for the past few years. He simply cannot remain fit, though, and some of the Bayern faithful are beginning to lose patience with him. Coman certainly has something to prove this season.
This leaves Gnabry with the freedom to perform at his creative best without having to worry about meeting the expectations of others. If he has a bad game, so what? It will likely be overshadowed by the good or bad performances of others. He will just have to focus on performing better next time.
And when he plays well — which should happen more often than not — it will be all the more clear that Gnabry is just as much of a star as anyone else in the Bayern attack.
Serge Gnabry: Bayern’s Versatile Forward
One of Serge Gnabry’s biggest strengths, and one of the reasons to expect great things from him this season is his incredible versatility. The Germany international can play anywhere across the front line and even a bit further back.
Niko Kovac most often used a 4-3-3 during Bayern’s pre-season tour of the US, but he often used a 4-2-3-1 instead last season. Regardless of which formation the Croat uses for the 2019/20 campaign, Gnabry will thrive.
As a left or right winger (though he will likely most often be the latter) in a 4-3-3, Gnabry will offer a direct threat on goal from out wide and should combine great with Robert Lewandowski. In a 4-2-3-1, Gnabry’s tendency to cut inside will work wonderfully in tandem with Thomas Muller‘s ability to drift wide and remain effective.
Regardless of the formation, Gnabry will be allowed to move toward the centre of the pitch thanks to overlapping full-backs David Alaba and Joshua Kimmich. His speed, trickery, direct dribbling style, and great finishing ability make him a massive goal-scoring threat when coming in from the flanks.
There is no question he should be aiming for at least another ten goals this Bundesliga campaign. Expect Gnabry to score many more, though. And expect him to put a few more assists under his belt as well with his fine passing ability.
Serge Gnabry has the ability to do it all in the attack, as he showed during his first season in the Bavarian capital. Expect him to elevate his game even further during the 2019/20 season and truly establish himself as one of the real stars of this Bayern Munich squad.
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