The Bayern Munich forward has spent most of his career in wide roles, but coach Joachim Low who will step down after the tournament has selected just two strikers in his squad.
That suggests the coach is looking for others to make themselves available for central attacking duties, and the likes of Gnabry and Kai Havertz could be made for the job.
Havertz’s Chelsea team-mate Timo Werner and Monaco forward Kevin Volland are the two frontline strikers at Low’s disposal. Germany were thrashed 6-0 by Spain last November in the Nations League, and although they began their World Cup qualifying campaign in March with wins over Iceland and Romania, a subsequent defeat to North Macedonia pointed to shortcomings. On Wednesday they will tackle Denmark in a friendly in Innsbruck, a penultimate game before Germany launch their Euro 2020 campaign with a June 15 clash against France in Munich.
“I don’t know yet whether I’ll play on the wing or in the middle,” Gnabry said in a pre-game news conference. “I haven’t had a concrete conversation with the national coach. I’ll do my best when I play in the centre and imitate the striker. But we have so much potential on the offensive that it doesn’t really matter who is up front.
Gnabry suggested he enjoyed the central role because it inflated his chances of personal glory. “Because you’re closer to the goal, that’s the only reason,” Gnabry said. “I just love to score goals.” The former Arsenal player warned, however: “I’m not a [Robert] Lewandowski or [Erling] Haaland.” Gnabry scored just 11 goals for Bayern in the season just ended, after a 23-goal campaign in 2019-20, while Werner netted 12 for Chelsea and Volland hit the back of the net 18 times.
Germany’s Champions League finalists are not available for the Denmark game, meaning Low must get by without Havertz, Werner, Antonio Rudiger and Ilkay Gundogan. Toni Kroos, Jamal Musiala and Leon Goretzka are also expected to be absent, the coach seeing his 26-man squad depleted.
Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels should win their first caps since November 2018, having been frozen out over the last two and a half years as Low attempted to give his team a younger look. The coach went cap in hand to both recently, beckoning them back into his squad, and the experienced pair accepted the invitation.
💬 @SergeGnabry: “I’m really looking forward to playing in my first tournament. Training is enjoyable, we’ve got a good group of lads and we’re excited for tomorrow, Monday and then the opener against France.”#DieMannschaft pic.twitter.com/HxTL4XWktQ
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 1, 2021
Asked about Bayern team-mate Muller, Gnabry said: “He absolutely deserves it. He is incredibly effective and particularly valuable in terms of motivation. It’s good to have him here.” Muller was one of only five players from Europe’s top five leagues to score at least 15 goals and have at least 15 assists across all competitions in the 2020-21 season.
He scored 15 times and set up 19 goals, with the others in that exclusive club being Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, Manchester United playmaker Bruno Fernandes and Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho. Hummels also had a stellar season in defence for Dortmund. He is 32 and Muller is 31, and Gnabry sees their experience and leadership qualities as being a major boon for Die Mannschaft. “It’s always good to have leaders on your team,” Gnabry said. “If we all pull together, we will be successful.”