Serge Gnabry provided an assist for Hoffenheim in their 4-2 win over Mainz at the weekend, despite playing in an unfamiliar wing-back position.
For the second time in two matches, Gnabry played as a right wing-back for Hoffenheim on Saturday. It’s not his usual position with the side, but their recent formation change means it’s the best way to fit him into the team.
Hoffenheim manager Julian Nagelsmann thinks the new position plays to Gnabry’s strengths.
“I believe that he can (play there),” he told Bild. “I see great potential for his future. Whether wing-back or wide-forward, the difference is not that big.
“He has so much space. He can use that for his pace. He’s not a merciless killer in front of goal, but a mix of attacking traits, one who creates goals and initiates attacks. Therefore, the position is very suitable.”
Clearly it’s not just Arsenal where managers like to mess around with their player’s positions.
The situation with Gnabry at Hoffenheim is very reminiscent of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s time in North London. The Englishman also played right-wing back after Arsene Wenger changed formations.
In the end, the Ox was so unhappy with not being allowed to play further forward he moved to Liverpool. That won’t be an issue for Gnabry, as he’s only on loan anyway, so he’ll return to Bayern at the end of the season.
Whatever the former Gunner thinks of his new position, it’s working for the time being.
Picking up a deeper position on the pitch, the Bayern loanee spun and played a lovely through ball which Adam Szalai converted for the opening goal against Mainz.
Finishing the game with their first league win in six matches, you can see why Nagelsmann is happy.