Serge Gnabry was on fire for Bayern Munich during their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.
The Bavarians came into their clash with Lyon as massive favourites having destroyed Barcelona 8-2 in the quarter-finals, but there was always the threat of a potential upset from the French side.
Lyon had, after all, dumped out Juventus and Manchester City against the odds in the previous knockout rounds, though it quickly became clear that toppling Bayern was a bridge too far.
Gnabry scores twice vs Lyon
However, it wasn’t before Memphis Depay missed a massive chance after Manuel Neuer and Karl Toko Ekambi struck the post that Gnabry was able to make the breakthrough for the favourites.
And it came in spectacular fashion with Gnabry channelling his inner Arjen Robben, embarking on a purposeful run from the right-hand side before firing a stunning left-footed shot into the top corner.
Things got even better just a few minutes later, too, with the German international bagging his second of the game, thrashing home a rebound after Robert Lewandowski’s initial miss.
Remembering Gnabry’s time in England
So, it would be fair to say that Gnabry was in fine form during the 3-0 win in Lisbon and it served as reminder number 1,000 that he should have been given more of a chance in the Premier League.
Arsenal fans still kick themselves to this day that the club allowed Gnabry to leave in 2016, quietly shifting him to Werder Bremen after granting him just 18 first-team appearances.
However, the most curious part of Gnabry’s time on English shores undoubtedly came in the form of his disastrous loan spell with West Bromwich Albion during the 2015/16 campaign.
To say it was a waste of time would be the mother of all understatements with Gnabry featuring in just three matches and manager Tony Pulis making some amusing comments about his quality.
Pulis’ infamous verdict on Gnabry
Now, poor Tony must be sick of seeing these quotes every time Gnabry drops a masterclass, but we couldn’t help unearthing them after arguably his most important ever display for Bayern.
So, without further ado, take it away, Tony…
According to ESPN, Pulis remarked: “Serge has come here to play games but he just hasn’t been for me, at the moment, at that level to play the games.
“He’s come from academy football and not played much league football — does academy football really prepare players for league football? And we’re talking about Premier League football here.
“As a manager you pick a team that’s going to win a game of football. You pick your best team — you don’t leave people out because you don’t like them, because of this, that and the other.”
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
What could have been?
While West Brom have just pulled their way back into the Premier League, their former loanee, who was largely relegated to youth games, is on his way to a Champions League final.
Sadly for Pulis, football just happens to be an incredibly unpredictable sport and sometimes spotting the next big star can be easier said than done.
At least, that’s what we’re telling ourselves to explain how this crazy journey ever took place!
- Messi refused to give his shirt to Davies
- Match report: Bayern Munich 3-0 Lyon
- Gnabry’s stunning opening goal vs Lyon