Fri, 29/07/22, 15:00
Serge Gnabry: “You learn to live this culture”
Serge Gnabry’s contract extension until 2026 was a message that he wants to play his part in shaping Bayern’s future. The Germany international talks in an interview about leadership traits, Bayern’s attack going forward in the future and his friendship with Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka.
Interview with Serge Gnabry
Servus, Serge! The new season starts on Saturday with the Supercup. Was the intensity in training especially high this year because of the short pre-season?
Gnabry: “The time was tight and we had a lot of double sessions – it was physically very strenuous. But pre-season is a time when you simply have to suffer. It’s important and we know why we do it. But in the end you always look forward to things getting going again.”
What’s your impression of the new signings? Have they already settled in the team?
“Yeah, very well. It’s not a given because new players often speak a different language and don’t immediately understand us. They’re top guys. They’re very funny, very chilled. Obviously they also show their quality and why we bought them out on the pitch. It’s fun to play with them.”
Robert Lewandowski is gone, Sadio Mane is in – what does that mean for Bayern’s attack?
“We’re definitely more variable than in recent years when we always had an out-and-out striker who scored 40 goals a season. It’s a new beginning and a good chance for us attackers to grow into a new role. That’s nothing negative but a chance we want to take.”
You also played as a centre-forward under Julian Nagelsmann at Hoffenheim. What’s his plan with you now?
“I feel very good in a system with two strikers. We’ve often played like that with the national team and also back at Hoffenheim. I generally like playing centrally, but it depends on what system the coach wants to play. We’re definitely very flexible, have a lot of players who can swap positions with each other. As long as we understand each other and the movements are right, it’s no problem if one of us drifts out to the wing from the centre or vice versa.”
You recently signed a long-term contract extension – what are your intentions now with Bayern?
“The history of the club is constantly being written. We players can define an era, which we want to fill with as much success as possible. We’ve got a great team feeling here. It’s special to be playing at such a level at one of the world’s top clubs.”
You’ll have been at Bayern for eight years by the end of your contract. What traits does a player have to have to stay so long?
“Definitely talent, ambition, confidence and the drive to always keep going. The competition doesn’t sleep. Incredible young players are always coming through, like Jamal Musiala, Paul Wanner or Gabriel Vidovic right now. You can’t allow yourself to let up, otherwise the next one will be there to take your place. That desire is a bit part of it.“
Is that what people refer to as the famous Bayern DNA?
“You could say so. Those traits weren’t as defined with me before I came here. It’s something you learn when you’re in this environment and faced with it daily. Having to win every three days isn’t common practice everywhere. Bayern is simply a big club. You learn to live this culture.”
At 27, your generation is now in what people call your footballing prime. What can the young players in the team learn from you?
“They can watch and learn things, like we did from the older generation of Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Xabi Alonso. The boys all have what it takes to have a great career here. What I sometimes see in training… Hats off to them. What we can pass on to them is always to believe in yourself. Thar’s vital at this level. It's so tough without confidence when you sometimes have a bad spell.”
You said you want to win many more titles with “your brothers”. What is it about your friendship with Kimmich and Goretzka?
“A lot of it is trust. We’ve known each other since we were young, so we’re well attuned as a team. You know what you’ve got with the other one and can always rely on him. When you’ve got good friends in the team, it’s not like you go to work and then back home and it’s all over. We also do stuff together privately, which strengthens the relationship even more.”
Are you now growing into the role of a leader?
“That always comes with age and experience, also with the standing you have in the team. But it also depends on what sort of person you are. Not everyone projects that. That’s, for example, the difference between me and Joshua Kimmich, who’s very vocal on the pitch. But obviously you try to help the younger players, give them tips and encourage them. We were all in the same situation once and the older players also supported us then.”
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