Summary

  • Gnabry joined Bremen from Arsenal in summer 2016.
  • Scored a hat-trick on his Germany debut.
  • Four goals in his first nine Bundesliga appearances.

SV Werder Bremen had every reason to poke fun at Serge Gnabry's former employers Arsenal FC after the 21-year-old scored a FIFA World Cup qualifying hat-trick on his international debut.

Serge Gnabry can be yours for 10.4m when you play the Official Fantasy Bundesliga. Sign him up now!

Bremen's playful social media post and Gnabry's San Marino-slaying performance went viral, but what is the Germany up-and-comer's backstory? bundesliga.com finds out...

Watch: A look at some of the Bundesliga's finest young talent, including Serge Gnabry:

1) Stuttgart foundation

Born in Stuttgart and following in the footsteps of his father, himself a former footballer in his native Cote d'Ivoire, Gnabry was snapped up at the tender age of 12 by three-time Bundesliga champions VfB Stuttgart, following spells at a number of local outfits on the youth circuit.

2) London calling

Premier League outfit Arsenal caught whiff of the electric forward's talents in 2010, but had to wait until his 16th Birthday before formally welcoming the Under-16 Germany international to the English capital. After less than a season playing regular football for the U-18s, Gnabry was promoted to the Arsenal reserves.

Gnabry was not at hometown club Stuttgart for long, before signing on the dotted line with Arsenal.

3) First-team breakthrough

First-team football swiftly followed in 2012/13, with Arsenal head coach Arsene Wenger handing Gnabry his senior debut in the first round of the League Cup. The Germany U-18 later became the Gunners' second youngest player in Premier League history, aged 17 years and 98 days, and also featured in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League against Bundesliga side FC Schalke 04.

4) Season of highs and lows

Gnabry scored his first Premier League goal at the third time of asking, in a 2-1 win over Swansea City AFC on 28 September 2013. He registered an assist in his next outing against Crystal Palace, but a season of great promise met an abrupt end five-and-a-half months later. Making his full Champions League debut in the Round of 16 second leg tie with FC Bayern München, Gnabry was withdrawn after 13 minutes with a serious knee injury.

Gnabry was hitting top form when injury struck in the Champions League clash with Bayern in March 2014.

5) Bleak spell in the Black Country

Gnabry was unable to force his way back into first-team contention at Arsenal following a six-month spell on the sidelines. He subsequently moved out on loan to West Bromwich Albion FC in summer 2015, but found his prodigious talent once again overlooked at the Hawthorns, making just two appearances in the League Cup.

6) Olympic certainty

Such a difficult campaign notwithstanding, there was never any doubt that Gnabry would not make Germany's 2016 Olympic Games squad. The 21-year-old had been an ever-present for his country at youth level throughout his stop-start spell in England, and it did not take long for the Stuttgart-born sensation to rediscover his best form on the big stage in Rio de Janeiro.

7) Top of the shots

Gnabry finished joint-top of the scoring charts after netting six goals in as many games en route to the Gold Medal match. Although he could not inspire his country to victory in the final against hosts Brazil, Arsenal's forgotten Wunderkind was a richly deserving winner of Germany's Player of the Tournament prize.

Gnabry's six-goal haul helped Germany to Olympic silver at the Summer 2016 Games in Rio.

8) Bremen get their man

In search of a new lease of life on the domestic scene and with Werder Bremen heading the list of post-Olympic suitors, Gnabry sought the advice of Arsenal teammates and former Bremen duo Per Mertesacker and Mesut Özil, before pledging his allegiance to the Green-Whites on a five-year deal.

"Per and Mesut have only said positive things about the club," he said. "But it was my decision alone in the end to come here. I had very good talks with the management. I've come to get playing time, to develop further and to help the team."

9) Immediate impact

Gnabry scored his first Bundesliga goal on only his second appearance in Germany's top flight in a narrow defeat to FC Augsburg and struck again against SV Darmstadt 98, RB Leipzig and FC Schalke 04. A maiden international call-up swiftly followed in November 2016, even if it did take a while to sink in.

"[Joachim Löw] called me up but I had to think about it for a bit whether it was true or not," Gnabry told German media company RND. "There are so many hoax calls from radio shows and I really did not want to be a victim of that."

Gnabry has started every game for Bremen so far in 2016/17.

10) A debut to savour

Gnabry was probably still pinching himself when Löw handed him his senior international debut against San Marino on 11 November 2016. A early goal settled the nerves, while two more saw him become the first Germany debutant to grab a hat-trick since Dieter Müller in the 1976 UEFA European Championship semi-final against Yugoslavia.

The only joke, as Bremen were only too happy to point out after the game, was on Arsenal.