Ivica Olic: Serge Gnabry will be Bayern Munich’s main man
Club ambassador tips the German to step up following Ribery and Robben's exit
The departure of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben at the end of last season has ushered the start of a new era at Bayern Munich.
And the Bavarian giants' former forward Ivica Olic has picked Germany international Serge Gnabry, 24, as the man to lead the club's charge.
Olic, 39, is in town for the Allianz Explorer Camp Football Edition Asia where the Croat, together with youth coaches from Bayern, conducted training sessions for young footballers at The Arena yesterday.
The camp, which concludes tomorrow, brings together talented children from around the region, with an opportunity to represent Asia at the Munich football camp next month.
Speaking to The New Paper through a translator, Bayern ambassador Olic said: "Replacing them (Robben and Ribery) is going to be difficult.
"They are leaving the team after being there for so long and they always made the difference. But they already have someone who can fill the shoes - Gnabry."
In a recent interview with Sport Bild magazine, Bayern coach Niko Kovac said that the club will "do everything" in their power to bring Manchester City winger Leroy Sane to Germany.
But Olic is instead looking forward to the progress of Gnabry, who scored 13 goals in 42 appearances and was voted Bayern's Player of the Season.
Said Olic: "He is one who will be the key player next season.
"He already had a very good season last year and I do see him making another step up."
Kovac, who represented Croatia along with Olic, came under scrutiny from the German media last season, despite leading Bayern to a record-extending seventh consecutive Bundesliga title as well as the German Cup.
Olic feels that, while the criticism levelled at his compatriot was unwarranted, bigger expectations await.
Olic, who played for Bayern from 2009-2012 and won the 2009-10 league and cup double, said: "(The criticism) was not correct in my view because he did win the double and did a good job there.
"Of course now the expectations will increase, which is to advance more significantly in the Champions League... to reach at least maybe the semi- finals. I hope that he will take that next step to be very successful in the Champions League.
"In the league, it looks like the main contenders who will be chasing Bayern and trying to overtake them will be (Borussia) Dortmund.
"They have good new players and they will do well again."
Dortmund finished two points behind Bayern last season, in a title race that went down to the last matchday.
Having been brought to Bayern in 2009 by a Champions League-winning coach in Dutchman Louis van Gaal, Olic knows only too well that the Allianz Arena hotseat is one of the most coveted in the world.
Former Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho revealed to Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport earlier this month that he was learning German, fuelling speculation that the Portuguese tactician was preparing for a stint in the Bundesliga.
On the rumours, Olic said: "It's always a good step in the career of every trainer to go to Bayern. We saw Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti manage here.
"Maybe yes, he has a chance to manage in the Bundesliga. But I don't know anything about it at the moment."