Serge Gnabry: MD14's Man of the Matchday, Bayern Munich's star against Werder Bremen and Germany's World Cup hope
A hat-trick from Serge Gnabry helped defending champions Bayern Munich hammer Werder Bremen 6-1 to stay top of the Bundesliga. The Germany attacker has come into form at the perfect time for both club and country.
Gnabry scored the second, fourth and fifth goals for Bayern in a rampant win over Bremen in Munich on Tuesday, taking his tally in the Bundesliga alone this season to seven goals and three assists.
"As a forward or an attacking player, it always does you good," he said of his latest treble. "The more goals, the better."
Whether it's through scoring goals or making them, the Bayern No. 7 has been contributing a lot to his team lately. Last month Gnabry was directly involved in a goal in five consecutive competitive matches for the first time in his Bayern career.
Watch: Gnabry was on fire against Bremen!
That run of eight goal involvements in five games came to an end after he got the opener in the 6-2 success against Mainz on Matchday 12, but it only took two more outings before he started to improve his statistics again.
A second-half substitute in the UEFA Champions League victory over Inter Milan, the former Arsenal winger started - but didn't score or make a goal - in a 3-2 win at Hertha Berlin. Then Gnabry became the first Bayern player to get a hat-trick this season - against the team he spent the 2016/17 season with.
Gnabry's first was the perhaps the pick of the bunch as he cleverly curled the ball into the far corner from just inside the area. It was a key goal too, making it 2-1 on 22 minutes after Anthony Jung had cancelled out Jamal Musiala's early strike.
The 27-year-old had Leroy Sane to thank for his second, with the former Manchester City attacker setting up a tap in as the home team made it 4-1 on 28 minutes.
Stuttgart native Gnabry then got to showcase some fancy footwork for his final effort, breaking one tackle and skipping by another challenge before stabbing in for 5-1 with eight minutes left.
"He believes in himself," said Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann after his team's ninth league win of the campaign. "He's an exceptionally good footballer: two-footed, a goal threat and has real composure as he showed with his third goal. I think really highly of him."
Nagelsmann knows a lot about how good Gnabry has become too, having worked with him at Hoffenheim when he got 10 league goals during the 2017/18 season.
The former Bremen player has reached double figures for goals in each of the last six Bundesliga seasons, in fact, and his latest salvo allowed Bayern to make it nine successive wins in all competitions.
"It doesn't matter where Serge is on the pitch - he's always a goal threat," Bayern and Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka declared after a game during which he also found the net.
One of the reasons for that, of course, is that Gnabry has the ability to go either way and to finish off either foot.
"That makes him unpredictable," Goretzka explained. "He's a really powerful finisher, which makes him quite special."
Bayern have scored 21 times in their last four home matches in the Bundesliga, with Gnabry overcoming a couple of niggles and a slow start to the season to become a go-to player for the champions during that time.
The in-form attacker is now second only to Musiala - who has nine league goals - as Bayern's top league goalscorer this season.
That bodes well for his country too. Current Germany head coach Hansi Flick was previously in charge at Bayern, and it's clear that he'll be counting on Gnabry to have a big influence when the World Cup gets underway later this month.
Together they won the treble with Bayern in 2019/20, with Gnabry hitting the headlines that season with a four-goal burst in a 7-2 Champions League triumph away to Tottenham Hotspur. The winger finished with nine goals in the competition that year, and he seems primed to have a similar impact for club and country this term.
"I think he's an important player for Hansi too," said Nagelsmann. "I hope he can keep this momentum going - in the game against Schalke and of course at the World Cup."
As Nagelsmann suggested, Gnabry has one more assignment at club level before he links up with Germany. You'd worry for the Bundesliga's bottom club when Schalke host league leaders Bayern on Saturday. In this kind of form, though, most teams would struggle to stop the champions' hat-trick hero.
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