Bayern Munich attacker Serge Gnabry says he “always enjoys playing in London” after hitting a brace in his side’s 3-0 win away to Chelsea in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie.
In doing so the Germany international, who played across the English capital at Arsenal from 2012-2016, took his tally in the competition this season to six, having scored four in Bayern’s last trip to London which ended in a 7-2 thrashing of Tottenham Hotspur in the group stage in October.
“The three-goal advantage gives us a lot of confidence but we need to be prepared for the second leg,” he said after a result that completed a clean sweep of victories for Bundesliga sides in European competition this past week. “We need to take it seriously and it’s still open, but we’ve got a good advantage.
“I enjoy coming to London. I’ve got a lot of friends here and a lot of them were in the stands tonight again and it seems like they give me some kind of good power. I always enjoy coming back.”
The 24-year-old’s double means he is now the third-highest scorer in the Champions League this season, behind teammate Robert Lewandowski – whose goal against Chelsea took him to 11 – and Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland (10).
It was also the continuation of Gnabry’s recent impressive form, having also found the net against (and provided two assists) against Paderborn on Matchday 23, as well as scoring twice against Cologne the previous week.
“He’s developed really, really well,” said head coach Hansi Flick recently. “He’s got fantastic ability one-on-one and in front of goal.”
Watch: The inexorable rise of Serge Gnabry
Those qualities were evident once again at Stamford Bridge, as he jinked away from his marker to score two well-taken goals in the space of 202 seconds to all but decide the tie in Bayern’s favour.
“We knew we had to be patient,” Gnabry continued, citing the goalless first half. “We had the game under control even in the first half. We had a couple of chances Lewandowski and Thomas [Müller], but we didn’t take them. We knew we’d need to be patient and that we’d get our chances, and in the end we took them.
“It’ll be [very tough for Chelsea to go through now], but we saw last season that Liverpool went through after losing 3-0 to Barcelona, so we have to be careful. We have to go into the second leg with all our focus and try to win that one as well.”