Serge Gnabry reveals Mikel Arteta advice ahead of Arsenal return with Bayern Munich

The Germany international is preparing to return to Emirates Stadium as Bayern face Arsenal in the Champions League

Ed Elliot
Monday 08 April 2024 13:34 BST
Serge Gnabry is in form following an injury-hit spell (Tom Weller/dpa via AP/PA)
Serge Gnabry is in form following an injury-hit spell (Tom Weller/dpa via AP/PA) (AP)

Bayern Munich forward Serge Gnabry is relishing a reunion with mentor Mikel Arteta and has backed former club Arsenal to be one of European football’s leading sides for the foreseeable future.

Gnabry played alongside current Gunners boss Arteta under Arsene Wenger after joining the north London club in 2012 at the age of 16.

The Germany international, who is preparing to return to Emirates Stadium for Tuesday evening’s Champions League quarter-final first leg, has fond memories of being tutored by the Spanish tactician.

“He’s now fully absorbed in his role as coach and thinks very strategically,” Gnabry said of Arteta, speaking to Bayern’s website.

“In my time, he was already an experienced player. He was the captain, a leader who spoke to everyone and communicated a lot.

“He was very helpful to us as young players back then. He built us up, always gave us good tips, always tried to guide us so that we stayed focused and gave everything.”

Arsenal’s quest for European glory comes amid a thrilling three-way tussle for the Premier League title with Liverpool and Manchester City.

“Arsenal have had what it takes to play at the top again for a long time,” continued Gnabry.

“The team has a certain flair and exudes strength. The odds are probably 50-50.

“They’re formidable in their own stadium with their fans behind them. It will be a difficult task, with two strong teams coming up against each other.

“It’s a do-or-die game – that’s where we’re usually particularly strong. Reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League would give us a huge boost. It’s our big goal.

“I’m really looking forward to it. During the draw, I said it was bound to happen. I’m extremely happy to be going there again after almost eight years.”

Gnabry has suffered an injury-hit season and, despite registering three goals in four Bundesliga appearances since his latest return, Bayern’s title defence has effectively ended.

He also endured a frustrating time with Arsenal, being restricted to just 10 Premier League appearances and spending an unsuccessful loan spell with West Brom before returning to his homeland with Werder Bremen in 2016.

The 28-year-old, who moved on to Bayern a year later, has no regrets about the bold choice he made as a teenager.

“That time had a huge impact on me,” he said.

“Daring to leave my familiar surroundings at 16 was a huge step, both on a personal and footballing level.

“Playing for a club like Arsenal was a great privilege at the time.

“Of course there were ups and downs, but I enjoyed my time there and got to know a lot of fantastic people. In the end, it was the right decision.”

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