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Bayern’s Leon Goretzka relishing a Bochum homecoming in the DFB-Pokal

Gortezka came up in Bochum’s youth system and will be returning with Bayern Munich for their DFB-Pokal clash against VfL Bochum.

FC Bayern Muenchen v 1. FC Union Berlin - Bundesliga Photo by A. Beier/Getty Images for FC Bayern

Bayern Munich’s DFB-Pokal clash against VfL Bochum will be a homecoming for midfielder Leon Goretzka. A native of Bochum, Goretzka spent eleven years of his youth career in VfL Bochum’s academy and eventually broke through to the senior squad in 2012 for a year before he moved to rival Schalke in 2013.

In an interview with Sport1, the 24-year-old reflected on how he felt when Bayern drew VfL Bochum in the second round of the DFB-Pokal and looked forward to the homecoming itself. Immediately after seeing the draw, he said, he was happy above all for his friends and family:

I was simply delighted. First and foremost, for my family and friends. The telephone didn’t stop ringing for half a day. It’ll be a cool story; for me, it’s a very special game. I have hoped that it would come together since my transfer. Now it’s really here.

2. Bundesliga, 32. Spieltag, VfL Bochum - 1. FC Köln
Leon Goretzka with then teammate Christoph Kramer in Bochum, 2013.
Photo by Team 2 Sportphoto/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Some of his former youth coaches in Bochum were among the first to contact him to try for tickets to the clash so they could witness the homecoming of a layer who spent so much of his childhood there:

Former youth coaches asked me for tickets right away, because it was finally happening, like, “The boy is coming home!” It’s a great story for them that they can see me in the stadium again.

When Goretzka moved to Schalke in 2013, it wasn’t taken too kindly by Bochum fans, as the two clubs are Ruhr region rivals, although the Rivierderby is most commonly associated with Borussia Dortmund vs. Schalke. Remembering how the fans reacted to his move to Schalke is something Goretzka doesn’t want to revisit, but he understands why Bochum fans were upset:

I’d rather not open this can of worms again. I was touched that Bochum published a text about it not too long ago. It did me good, because I never wanted to justify myself about it [the transfer]. But it set the record straight in some regards. But you can’t blame the people. When you get your information from the newspapers, which might not even be correctly informed, then you draw yourself a picture with the information you have. Despite that, I know why I made my decision and can also stand behind it one hundred percent.

FC Schalke 04 vs Eintracht Frankfurt Photo by Bernd Thissen/picture alliance via Getty Images

Looking forward to the DFB-Pokal clash, Goretzka said Bayern should expect a great fight from Bochum, especially in a knockout competition. Bayern haven’t been at their best in recent weeks, and Goretzka knows that Bochum will take advantage and use chance to make life difficult for Bayern:

We really have struggled over the past few weeks. Moreover, it’s a knockout game. Then it almost doesn’t matter what league you play in. You always have the feeling that there’s a chance. Nonetheless, we obviously want to advance. I’ve been blabbering to my teammates, by the way, that it’s a really special atmosphere with a traditional floodlight. They all wonder, “Huh? It’s the second round in the DFB Pokal.”

Goretzka himself is pleased to be fit and ready to play. He said about his injury,

Of course it was brutal. I came wonderfully through the preseason and didn’t miss a training session. Then I was out for almost seven weeks because of a supposedly trivial injury. It’s frustrating, but now I’m back, fully fit, and am ready to help the team. I’m simply happy to be there again now. I don’t worry about whether I had good or bad luck.