FC Bayern Muenchen v FC Schalke 04 - Bundesliga
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What comes next after Serge Gnabry has so emphatically answered all those who ever doubted what he might achieve in his career?

From the moment he returned to Germany in 2016, Gnabry's rise has been inexorable, the player discarded by West Bromwich Albion during a loan spell emerging as one of the most devastating wide forwards in world football within a few years. Last season he seemed determined to remind the English game what they had been missing, ripping through the great rivals of his former club Arsenal with four goals against Tottenham and two against Chelsea.

Only Robert Lewandowski and Erling Haaland scored more goals in the Champions League than his nine; everything Gnabry touched seemed to turn into goals. One in three of his shots in the competition found the net and no one in the competition outperformed their expected goals tally (3.73, meaning the quality of chances he had would have brought around three or four goals for an average player) by a great margin than the two-footed wing wonder.

In all competitions, he would end the campaign with 23 goals and 14 assists in 46 matches. For some, that would feel like an ending, the vindicating moment that his career was building towards, but now that Gnabry has got the taste of one treble, he is determined to claim more with Bayern Munich.

"There's always a point to prove," Gnabry said. "I hope we haven't hit the pinnacle yet. The mentality of us players, of myself and I'm sure the team is to aim for another treble.

"Of course we all know it's going to be hard, but we have a lot of quality and the motivation is sometimes going to be difficult but every one of us picks the other up. I'm sure we can achieve a lot more than just having one great season."

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Few top players go through their career without any form of setback, but Gnabry's journey to the highest echelons of European football has been all the more remarkable considering how severely his career seemed to have been set back by the knee injury that sidelined him for over a year back in March of 2014.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger never faltered in his belief in Gnabry's quality, but in a bid to get the youngster regular playing time post-injury, he and the rest of the club undoubtedly erred in sending him to West Brom, whose manager Tony Pulis was not in a position to blood youngsters for another Premier League side when his focus was so squarely on keeping his team in the division.

Gnabry would depart with Pulis' assessment that he was "not at the level" required for West Brom ringing in his ears.

Arguably every match since has been a repudiation of that assessment. Since leaving The Hawthorns, he has won the Champions League, two German titles, the Under-17 European Championships, Olympic silver and been garlanded with individual accolades. His senior record since reads 75 goals in 165 games for club and country.

"You always hear a little bit about it or people in the U.K. ask me about it," he said of Pulis' comments. "It looks like it won't stop, all I can say is I'm proud of the journey I've taken.

"To be a Champions League winner now when a couple of years back I was doubted is obviously a great thing for me.

"Of course after having struggled a lot it was difficult to pick myself up. The biggest thing is that self-confidence, that I knew what I was capable of. I never lost that. Obviously, you doubt it at some points but I never lost it.

"The second biggest point in that way is I was playing a lot, not having so many injuries, so many little things that kept me out of games. To just be consistent and being able to play every time, showing my performance helped me for the future. If I can play I can show what I can do."

Yet there is no ill will from Gnabry toward English football. Quite the contrary. He speaks of Arsenal in particular with great warmth, joking that if he were to come back to the Premier League, the Gunners would be "the favorite".

He relished his destruction of Tottenham and Chelsea, 400 days after his four goals against the former, he says "of course, because of my Arsenal history against Spurs you have a little bit more motivation."

It is not just against London clubs that Gnabry brings his finest performances. Against Lyon in the Champions League semifinal, his brace secured victory for Bayern, who had been teetering before he darted infield onto his left foot, beating five defenders before a thunderous strike flew into Anthony Lopes' top right corner.

Saturday sees Gnabry and Bayern travel to Borussia Dortmund for Der Klassiker, a match in which the 25-year-old forward has also exerted a significant influence in recent years with two goals and two assists to his name in his past four meetings with BVB.

The winner of the clash at the Westfalenstadion will be assured of top spot in the Bundesliga and will receive a welcome fillip in the title race. Both sides go into the game in a rich vein of form; Dortmund have won their last four without a goal against whilst Bayern are without defeat since late September and scored four in the last 11 minutes to crush Red Bull Salzburg 6-2 in midweek.

"From Dortmund's side, I'm happy they're playing good football and winning games," Gnabry said. "From Bayern's side, it's more enjoyable when you win against a team that is maybe on eye level with you.

"We're still the favorites to win the game, but it's going to be hard, we know they play good football and in the end we want to win to make sure we're still on top.

"Whoever comes out on top will gain a lot of confidence from that match for the rest of the season. Knowing the importance of that game it makes it more valuable for us."

It could be a game decided by its two No. 7s, Gnabry and Jadon Sancho. Both left England for the promise of more regular first-team football in Germany and have proven to be trailblazers for a generation of young talent who have departed the United Kingdom for continental Europe.

Following in Sancho's footsteps is Jude Bellingham, the 17-year-old who rejected interest from Manchester United to move to Dortmund. First impressions are that that was a shrewd move for the former Birmingham City midfielder, who has featured in all bar one of his new club's first 11 games of the season.

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Sancho vies with Alphonso Davies of Bayern Getty Images

Should Bellingham eventually return to England, as it seems likely Sancho will even though Manchester United failed to agree a deal with Dortmund in the summer, Gnabry would expect him to be a far better player and person for his time in Germany.

Gnabry took the opposite path, the VfB Stuttgart academy graduate spending his formative years in England before returning to his homeland, and for all the tribulations that came during his time with West Brom and the latter stages of his Arsenal career, he is an evangelist for youngsters broadening their horizons at an early age.

"Most of all it's a test of character. You have to leave your comfort zone, your friends, your family. It helps you a lot in building strong character because you're in some way by yourself or in a whole new environment.

"It's always good for young people. I would recommend them to do it.

"I would do it over again if I was in that position because it helped my character a lot. You experience new things, also in other countries the leagues and teaching of football is also good. It's never a wrong thing to move abroad."