Run away when things don’t work? No option for Leon Goretzka! There was a lot of speculation about the future of the German international before the start of the season. It was said that he no longer had a rosy outlook at FC Bayern and that coach Thomas Tuchel would not put any obstacles in his way if he received an interesting offer. The rumor mill was churning!
But Goretzka stayed cool and stuck to the promise he made in the big SPORT1 interview on June 16th throughout the summer: “I have no other plans than to stay at FC Bayern!”
The interest of English clubs didn’t change that. According to SPORT1 information, West Ham United made an approach to him and tried to establish contact with him and his management. The player’s answer: no chance! He didn’t even want to have a conversation, but instead wanted to face the competition on Säbener Strasse.
Tuchel praises: “We are very happy with Leon”
Said and done! Goretzka worked his way back into the record champions’ starting eleven step by step – which was not only due to the modest size of the Tuchel squad and the failed signing of Joao Palhinha.
He has played 16 of 16 possible games so far (he missed four games due to muscular problems and a broken metacarpal) and often proved to be an important support, especially in the classic against Borussia Dortmund on November 4th.
Bayern coach Tuchel’s conclusion: “We are very happy with Leon. It was impressive how he put himself into the service of the team. There were discussions about him, but he persevered, never let himself down and has now found his form.”
It’s that quick! Before the season in the training camp at Tegernsee, Tuchel Goretzka said he had “a lot of room for improvement”: “Because of his status, his contract, his age, he is someone from whom we expect a lot: that he takes responsibility, that he… Team carries.”
FC Bayern: Goretzka shines as a real all-rounder
This is now the case again – even in different roles! He has already had to play as a substitute central defender three times due to defensive concerns – in the cup against Münster, in the league for almost half an hour against BVB and in the Champions League against Copenhagen – and he was convincing. A model with a future? Rather not.
Goretzka would not be amiss to continue to act as a defender, but according to SPORT1 information, he would prefer to play in the attacking midfield. Tuchel also sees him in this role – although he also expects the robust box-to-box player to work backwards.
“His best position is when he can exploit his running strength between the penalty areas and can also make runs into the penalty area,” says the coach. “In midfield he played very well in the half-left position and we still see him there. But in central defense he also played very good games every time he played there.”
The 28-year-old should play in midfield again in Saturday’s away game at Eintracht Frankfurt. Minjae Kim has recovered from his hip problems and will start in central defense alongside Dayot Upamecano.
Tuchel, who was initially seen as a Goretzka skeptic, now knows that he can rely on the unselfish fighter – no matter what position!
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