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Bayern Munich’s Leon Goretzka talks about success on-and-off the pitch

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The IncredibLeon Hulk had a lot to say in an interview with Abendzeitung, about his teammates, his social work, and his future goals.

Paris Saint-Germain v Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League Final Photo by M. Donato/FC Bayern via Getty Images

Leon Goretzka is arguably one of the most important parts of Bayern Munich’s current team, and has proven his worth time and again in the treble winning 2019/2020 season, just two years past his arrival in Munich. He notched up eight goals and eleven assists overall in all competitions, not too shabby for a central midfielder.

His start to the treble season was admittedly a bit slow, but he more than made up for it in the latter half of the season, starting all but six games and becoming an integral part of Bayern’s midfield. In an interview with Abendzeitung, Goretzka said that winning a treble and playing a major part in it was a dream come true.

“In terms of sport, 2020 was outstanding for us,” he said, “the only sad thing was that we couldn’t share our great successes with our fans in the stadiums and in Munich on Marienplatz.”

Goretzka didn’t neglect to share his motivation for the following season, though.

“The titles are both a claim and a responsibility to give everything for success again in 2021,” he said. When asked about any possible improvements of his own, he laughed and said, “If I reveal that here, then the competition will also find out!”

But jokes aside, Goretzka did say that he wanted to continuously improve in many areas, just as he did the previous season. As many football fans know, Goretzka went from being a lanky Leon to Bayern’s resident Hulk during the COVID-19 lockdown, which helped him become a much better player overall.

FC Bayern Muenchen v Lokomotiv Moskva: Group A - UEFA Champions League
Leon Goretzka is winning on-and-off the field these days.
Photo by Roland Krivec/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

But of course, Goretzka was far from alone in the efforts for the treble. If anything, he was joined by teammates and staff equally motivated to get every last bit and piece of success that remained. One of those people was coach Hansi Flick. Goretzka wasted no words in praising his coach, saying: “Hansi Flick used to be successful as a player, had a lot of experience as a coach before Bayern and was part of the 2014 World Cup team, among other things. All of this is impressive, and it creates trust and acceptance at a club like FC Bayern.” He added that “success proves it.”

Indeed it does, as Flick has capped 2020 with a record 85% winning rate in the Bundesliga, along with five trophies.

Another one of those people was fellow midfielder Joshua Kimmich, someone Goretzka apparently gets along very well with.

“We have a lot of automatisms. Our game, FC Bayern and the national team benefit from this,” Goretzka said. “I’m delighted to see him return to the pitch (after his knee injury).”

Speaking of Kimmich, he and Goretzka also made headlines off the field with their new initiative “We Kick Corona,” which was launched to gather donations to help charities and organizations in need during the current pandemic.

“The Corona crisis has shown, among other things, how important social issues in general, social responsibility, as well as family and friends, are,” Goretzka said.

He went on to describe his pride and gratitude for the campaign, which has been very successful over the past year.

“The size of the project, the number of players and participants, the many thousands of small donations, made the great success possible. It is a community project that we were very happy to initiate,” he said. “The feedback that we still receive every day is enormous. It is both an honor and a responsibility to continue this in 2021.”

The COVID pandemic has undoubtedly left huge scars on the global community, some bigger and deeper than others. Everyone on the planet has been affected by it one way or another. However, Goretzka also had hope for maybe some positive impacts of the pandemic.

“It is my hope that the Corona crisis will unite us as a society, that we will show respect for each other and emerge stronger from the crisis,” he said. “I would like to make a small contribution to this with my commitments such as “We kick Corona” in 2021.”

Likewise, the pandemic has brought out the best in many, in terms of helping people and being there for one another. Goretzka’s social work is just one example of people coming together for a bigger cause, and putting their strengths to work in these times. It is admirable indeed that Goretzka is using his status as a famous footballer to raise awareness for those in need.

And what will happen to Goretzka the footballer in 2021? Well, he seems to have goals just as big, if not bigger, than the ones he has off the pitch.

“Our goal is to defend as many titles as possible with FC Bayern,” he said. “And we have a lot to make up for with the national team. We owe it to ourselves - and the fans - to do our utmost to be successful.”

All of that, especially the national team bit (ahem Jogi Low), seems pretty difficult, and Goretzka himself acknowledged that in the interview. However, with players as dedicated and motivated as him, perhaps the task is not as daunting as it seems. Here’s hoping that both Bayern and Germany have a very successful 2021 - all with Goretzka at the literal heart of the team!