Despite spending some time on the bench of late, Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka has had a very successful inaugural season in Bavaria. The 24-year-old is happy with how things have progressed and even compared the move to a “step abroad” because of the immense talent and set of expectations on the grounds of Säbener Strasse.
In an interview that appeared in the print edition of DFL (as captured by the Münchner Merkur), Goretzka talked through his time in Munich so far.
After three quarters of a year, I already have the feeling that I have arrived here completely. Switching to FC Bayern is like a step abroad, even for a German footballer. You’ve never been on the same level before, can you really do that.
At the time when he was pondering where to spend his future, the former Schalke 04 man was also being courted by FC Barcelona. The choice between Bayern and Barca was not easy, but Die Roten had a bit of an inside track thanks to its roster full of Germany internationals. Still, Goretzka acknowledged, it takes a certain time of player to thrive under the spotlight and in the intense training conditions that exist in Bavaria.
I knew a lot of Bayern players from the national team, that made it a bit easier. It was a step into a foreign country, but where familiar faces are waiting for you. You rarely have a training intensity like here. Here you only have guys who step on the gas every day. If you prove yourself once at other clubs, you have a certain status. Here you have to prove yourself again the next day. You need a certain character to make it here. You have to be mentally incredibly strong.
One of the interesting anecdotes that Goretzka shared was about his time as a school boy and how he found it so odd to be sitting in Math class one moment and debating a future with Real Madrid the next.
That was bizarre, of course. You hear one day, Real Madrid wants you, and the next you sit back at school and try to understand what the Math teacher explains at the blackboard.
Some would say, that was a good — non Math — problem to have.