Bayern Star Hits Top Form In Time For The World Cup

The timing could not have been better for Serge Gnabry. The Bayern Munich striker has scored six goals in his last six Bundesliga appearances. It takes his tally to eight goals and four assists in 15 Bundesliga games as he has made an appearance in each of Bayern’s domestic games so far this season.

With 12 goalscoring points, Gnabry ranks second among Bayern players, just behind Jamal Musiala (nine goals and seven assists). Across all competitions, Gnabry’s tally is even more impressive, as he has bagged ten goals and ten assists in 23 games.

These numbers will be great news for German national team head coach Hansi Flick ahead of the World Cup. The German coach will turn a lot to the Bayern attack when it comes to building his starting lineup.

As has been the case with Bayern, Flick will be looking very much to build the attack around young Musiala, who in his current form could be the best player on the planet right now.

“[Musiala] improved a lot and played an outstanding first half of the season,” Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann said of Musiala after yet another outstanding game for Rekordmeister on Saturday against Schalke (2-0). “I hope he plays a big World Cup and then the second half of the season as well. He has extremely fast feet and is very talented.”

The 19-year-old is likely to play the same role for Germany as he did for Bayern. But the same might not be true for Gnabry. Much of Bayern’s success in recent weeks has been due to Nagelsmann making Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting the centerpiece of the attack. With a true No.9 in the squad, Bayern have a suitable outlet and, as a result, are unplayable.

Choupo-Moting, even though he played for Germany at youth level, represents Cameroon which means someone else will have to take on that role for Germany. The deal was made for Werder’s Niclas Füllkrug and Dortmund’s Youssoufa Moukoko. Both have solid records, but there are doubts whether Füllkrug can translate his Werder success to the world stage and whether 17-year-old Moukoko is ready.

Another option is Kai Havertz. The Chelsea attacking midfielder has played as a No.9 at times and has an aerial presence that other candidates, including Gnabry, lack. But what Havertz lacks compared to all the other candidates is scoring regularly.

Gnabry, in his current form, makes the strongest case for this. But there would also be a downside to employing the 27-year-old as a No.9. Although there was a brief spell at the start of the season where he played with Sadio Mané in a two-man striker formation, Gnabry has mostly been successful as a right-winger this season.

Trying to replicate Bayern’s starting XI at the start of the season could be an interesting approach from Flick. The German national team coach could line up Sané and Gnabry in a two-man attack just ahead of Musiala and Thomas Müller, if he is fit in time.

It also allows Flick the luxury of experimenting with a formation that resembles Bayern’s attack with Moukoko, Füllkrug or Havertz playing the role of Choupo-Moting. Either way, Gnabry’s form is great news for Flick; this opens up possibilities and further highlights that attack will be Germany’s strength at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Manuel Veth is the host of the Bundesliga Gegenpressing Podcast and Area Manager USA at Transfer market. It has also been published in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA and several other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth

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