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Opinion: Bundesliga is good for Gnabry

December 17, 2016

Many considered Serge Gnabry's move from Arsenal to Werder Bremen to be a step down, but the young German has gone from strength to strength. He is an asset not only for Werder but for the Bundesliga as a whole.

Deutschland Werder Bremen gegen 1. FC Köln
Image: Getty Images/AFP/P. Stollarz

When Serge Gnabry left Arsenal for struggling Werder Bremen in August, fans of the Premier League club could have been forgiven for thinking they had heard the last of the 21-year-old.

Gnabry failed to make an impact in England, making only nine Premier League appearances for Arsenal in the 2013-14 season followed by an unremarkable loan spell at West Bromwich Albion.

This summer, he was joining a club, which had avoided the relegation play-offs on the final day of the season by the skin of their collective teeth and which, unbeknown to him, was about to embark on one of their poorest starts to a season ever.

Four-nil down to Borussia Mönchengladbach in September and staring at a goal difference of -11 after only three games, Werder were at their lowest ebb - but Gnabry wasn't fazed. Latching onto a chipped through-ball, the new boy struck a thunderous volley beyond the reach of Yann Sommer to make it 4-1.

Little consolation for suffering Bremen fans but a glimmer of hope that perhaps, even in the absence of experienced strikers Max Kruse and Claudio Pizarro, Bremen could score goals after all. And so it proved as Gnabry added to his tally against Darmstadt, RB Leipzig, Schalke, Hamburg and Cologne.

Born in Stuttgart to a German mother and Ivorian father, Gnabry is currently the third-most prolific German striker in the Bundesliga - only Leipzig's Timo Werner and Hoffenheim's Sandro Wagner have scored more.

Gnabry's goals have come in various shapes and sizes too. He followed up his thunderbolt against Gladbach by demonstrating his lightning pace to round the goalkeeper and score against Darmstadt.

Matt Ford Kommentarbild
DW's Matt Ford

Then in the Nordderby away at rivals HSV, he danced through the Hamburg defense to slot home a lovely solo effort. Against Cologne this weekend, his powerful long-distance effort proved too hot for visiting goalkeeper Thomas Kessler to handle as Gnabry salvaged a 1-1 draw for his team.

Overall, Gnabry has scored six of Werder's 19 Bundesliga goals and assisted one more - a contribution which has seen the Green and Whites go unbeaten in four games and climb five points clear of the relegation zone under new manager Alexander Nouri.

Sporting director Frank Baumann has said Werder will not sell Gnabry during the winter transfer window but the young striker's form is sure to attract the attention of bigger suitors in the longer term.

Indeed, there were suggestions in the summer that Bayern Munich already had a hand in the player's transfer and that the deal included a clause giving the Bavarians an option to buy the player - suggestions Werder have vehemently denied.

Whatever the future holds for Serge Gnabry, his transfer to Werder is looking like a very shrewd move for all concerned. Gnabry is enjoying the best form of his life in the Bundesliga - and the Bundesliga is enjoying watching him.

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