October 3, 2019 / 9:16 AM / 2 months ago

In-form Gnabry to help Bayern tighten top spot grip

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - Bayern Munich winger Serge Gnabry’s four-goal bonanza against Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League this week is an ominous warning for his former club Hoffenheim who travel to Bavaria on Saturday.

Soccer Football - Champions League - Group B - Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Munich - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - October 1, 2019 Bayern Munich's Serge Gnabry celebrates after the match REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Gnabry, with one goal and two assists in the league so far, wants to pick up where he left off on Tuesday in their 7-2 demolition of Tottenham in London.

The Germany international, who has also netted nine times in 10 games for the national team, has been the taste of Munich after a superb 2018/19 season.

“Gnabry always plays,” said Germany coach Joachim Loew last month ahead of their Euro 2020 qualifiers and this now seems to be the case in Munich as well.

Bayern are top on 14 points after taking over the lead in the title race with last week’s 3-2 victory at promoted Paderborn, with Gnabry on target.

Another win, this time against his former club, could see them pulling further away with several other top teams playing each other at the same time.

“What I liked as coach about his performance in London is that he defended,” said Bayern coach Niko Kovac.

“I know that he can play up front and he does that exceptionally well. Defending sometimes causes him problems.”

With Gnabry in top form and Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski making his best start ever in the Bundesliga with 10 goals from six games so far, the champions have every right to believe they are gradually hitting their stride.

Having won the last seven league titles in succession, early season slip-ups against Hertha Berlin and RB Leipzig initially raised questions regarding the team’s commitment and drive to win an eighth league crown.

But Tuesday’s victory in London is as big a confidence boost as they get.

“There are many things that we still need to improve but such a game can carry us for the next few weeks,” said defender Niklas Suele.

Second-placed Leipzig, on 13, travel to improving Bayer Leverkusen, who are unbeaten at home since April and are also on 13, in sixth place on goal difference.

Freiburg, third also on 13, entertain self-proclaimed title contenders Borussia Dortmund, in eighth on 11 points and with only one win from their last four league games.

But Dortmund also head into the game with an improving confidence after their own 2-0 Champions League win at Slavia Prague on Wednesday ended a run of three straight draws in all competitions for the Ruhr valley club.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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