After starting into the Bundesliga season with four straight defeats, Werder Bremen finally got off the mark in dramatic fashion on Matchday 5 as two late goals secured a turnaround 2-1 win against VfL Wolfsburg.
Come the final whistle, there was an almost palpable relief in the celebrations among the home players and fans alike at a heaving Weser Stadium – not least in the case of Serge Gnabry. The success against the Wolves was his first taste of victory in a Bremen shirt and the 21-year-old attacking midfielder contributed to it with a man-of-the-match performance.
A constant, fearless attacking threat down the left, Gnabry laid on the 86th-minute leveller for Lennart Thy as well as clocking up 10.8 kilometres for the team cause. “It's been a busy week and he's dealt with it impressively, staying sharp right through to the finish,” Werder sporting director Frank Baumann noted.
Baumann was a pivotal figure in the coup signing of one of Germany's fastest rising prospects from Arsenal FC just before the close of the summer transfer window. Bremen were by no means the only club interested in acquiring a player fresh from finishing the Rio Olympic football tournament as joint-top scorer. Indeed, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has acknowledged that he would gladly have held on to Gnabry and, indeed, “We were close to extending his contract but finally he changed his mind and went to Bremen.”