Bayern Munich winger Serge Gnabry says he is determined to take inspiration from Bundesliga greats Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery as he gears up for his first season with the record champions.
"It would be a dream to have the same kind of career as Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery," the 23-year-old admitted, when asked about his illustrious teammates. "I work hard on that every day."
Though he has a long way to go to match 'Robbery' and their 15 Bundesliga titles, there is no denying Gnabry's immense potential. Snapped up by the Bavarian giants in July 2017, he was immediately loaned out to Hoffenheim for 2017/18, which turned out to be an inspired move. The young German international racked up 10 goals and 5 assists in just 22 league outings, and really came into his own in the campaign's latter months, scoring seven goals in the space of seven games as TSG pipped Borussia Dortmund to third place.
Watch: Gnabry scored the best long-range stunner of 2017/18 (skip to 4:13 to see it!)
Gnabry has since become a fully fledged member of the Bayern squad, and after impressing during their US summer tour he heads into the new season looking lean and hungry for success. He also expects to be given plenty of opportunities by new boss Niko Kovac.
"We have 60 or so games coming up this season, so we're going to need everyone," Gnabry said. "I really came on leaps and bounds in Hoffenheim, but I have to be out on the pitch to keep improving."
The former VfB Stuttgart, Arsenal and Werder Bremen man is likely to become a prized asset for Bayern thanks to his celebrated flexibility. On the trip to the US, he played as a right winger, right-back and centre-forward, while he describes his own best position as a "left winger or No.10". Even better, while at Hoffenheim he became adept at playing in Julian Nagelsmann's 3-5-2, a system that Kovac also favoured during his time at Eintracht Frankfurt.
"Gnabry was one of the Bundesliga's outstanding players in the second half of last season," insisted Bundesliga legend Lothar Matthäus, who won seven league titles with Bayern. "And Kovac will not accept any sulking from Robben and Ribery. They both need to understand that at their age, breaks will be good for them."
It is not only on the domestic scene that Gnabry is hoping to weave his magic. Along with his fellow members of Bayern's Class of '95 – Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Süle and Leon Goretzka – he is keen to emerge as one of the standard bearers for the Germany national team heading towards UEFA EURO 2020 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
"If there is a generational change to come, I'd like to be a part of it," admitted Gnabry, who made two senior appearances for Die Mannschaft in November 2016. "I want to recommend myself to the national team with my performances for Bayern."
First, Gnabry will be looking to help Bayern lift the season's first piece of silverware, the Supercup, against Kovac's old club Frankfurt, then he may have a chance to take on his former teammates as Hoffenheim travel to Munich for the opening game of the Bundesliga season. A fitting occasion to show that he can become the latest wing wizard to charm the Allianz Arena.