Bayern's rout of Spurs sent "big message" says four-goal Gnabry


Berlin (AFP)

After his four-goal haul, Serge Gnabry says Bayern Munich's 7-2 gala romp at Tottenham Hotspur sent a "big message" to their Champions League rivals.

Gnabry dazzled at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Tuesday as Bayern handed their hosts the highest-ever home defeat suffered by an English team in European competition.

The former Arsenal winger netted his four goals in a devastating second-half spell while Poland striker Robert Lewandowski scored twice as Spurs' defence capitulated.

"I think (the other teams) know we are not stopping," Gnabry said after his first Champions League goals on his 12th appearance in the competition.

"After going 3-1 or 4-2 up we could have stopped but we wanted more.

"I think it's a big message for everyone else."

Germany legend and Sky pundit Lothar Matthaeus agreed that Bayern "set an example to their international competition as far as the Champions League title is concerned.

"I don't want to say that they are title candidates, but this result will give them self-confidence," he added.

Gnabry is no stranger to claiming goals in high-score wins after a hat-trick on his Germany debut three years ago in an 8-0 romp at minnows San Marino in a 2018 World Cup qualifier.

- 'Sensational skills' -

"Serge's attacking skills are sensational," said Bayern coach Niko Kovac.

"With his speed, with his ball control -- and he has a fantastic shot off either foot.

"What I ask of him is his defensive work and he made a huge jump with that here."

Gnabry is part of a new-look Bayern boasting plenty of Gallic flair with France's Kingsley Coman on the other wing.

Centre-backs Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard, both World Cup winners with France, shut down Spurs attack.

Fellow Russia 2018 winner Corentin Tolisso was prefered to Thiago Alcantara alongside Philippe Coutinho in midfield in London.

However, the night belonged to Gnabry and the 24-year-old's impressive finishing.

"It's hard to put it in words. I think the last time I scored four goals was when I was a child," he laughed.

"I'm glad I could help the team to such a big win.

"It was a great performance ?- one of the best we've had so far."

Tottenham's early lead by Son Heung-min was wiped out 194 seconds later by Joshua Kimmich as Bayern led 2-1 at half-time after a superb Lewandowski finish.

Then ex-Arsenal forward Gnabry broke down the left after the break, burst into the box and drilled into the bottom corner.

He struck again two minutes later, firing home after Spurs' Harry Winks lost possession.

The hosts pulled back to 4-2 on the hour mark when Harry Kane converted a penalty after a foul on Danny Rose, but it was all Bayern after that.

Gnabry sealed his hat-trick on 83 minutes after getting behind Spurs' defence, yet there was still time for Lewandowski to side home a sixth for the Germans.

The result is Bayern's second highest away victory in the Champions League's group phase, bettered only by their 7-1 thrashing of Roma in October 2014.

- 'Gala Gnabry' -

Bayern now have 10 goals from two pool games to sit top of Group B having seen off Red Star Belgrade 3-0 and on present form are steaming towards the last 16.

Gnabry was born in Stuttgart, but joined Arsenal's academy as a teenager before moving back to Germany for spells at Werder Bremen, Hoffenheim and then Bayern recruited him as replacement for Arjen Robben in 2017.

He said knowing his family were watching in London urged him on.

"I believe the pressure helped a bit. My dad said I had to play well", but Gnabry insisted the German league leaders must stay focused.

"Seven goals don't happen often but we have to keep our feet on the ground.

"If we do that then performances like that can come more often.

"It was a great night and we're in a good place now in the Champions League."

Germany's press swooned over his four-star performance with football magazine Kicker full of praise for "Gala Gnabry" while daily Bild enthused "Blimey Bayern!".