When Bayern Munich at last emerged from lockdown and resumed training and playing, one player in particular looked a little different: Leon Goretzka. The Goretzka who took the field in central midfield against Union Berlin was strikingly more muscular than the once-wiry midfielder Bayern signed from Schalke in 2018.
In an email interview with Bavarian Football Works, Goretzka talked about his training regimen during the break.
Bavarian Football Works: Dear Leon, we immediately noticed in Berlin that you gained a ton of weight during the break — in pure muscle! We’re very curious about what your workout looked like during the break. Strength training with free weights, barbells, everything imaginable?
Leon Goretzka: “Many thanks for the kind words, which reached me through our PR department. I did in fact use the break caused by the coronavirus to work on my athleticism and strength in addition to cyber-training with the team. And I really used almost every weight I had at home, obviously including various dumbbells and barbells.”
BFW: What was your inspiration for this transformation?
LG: “My greatest inspiration is the drive to constantly develop myself further. As an elite athlete, I accordingly wanted to get back on the pitch not only top-fit but even more robust.”
BFW: How does your new size help you realize your interpretation of your role on the pitch? What advantages does your body type give you in central midfield?
LG: “They say ‘battles are decided in the midfield,’ don’t they? (laughs) Jokes aside, physical robustness helps you with your physical presence on the pitch, in deciding duels, and also with jumping strength for headers — as for example on corner kicks. I’m benefiting from that even more now and thus so is FC Bayern.”
The benefit to both player and club has been evident since the Bundesliga resumed: Goretzka has bossed the central midfield alongside Joshua Kimmich, starting all five of Bayern’s games since the restart, including a clear “Meister of the Match” performance against Bayer Leverkusen this past Saturday, in which Goretzka both scored and provided an assist. Goretzka has in fact been directly involved in five goals since the Bundesliga resumed. He has established himself as a vital part of Bayern’s formidably strong core on the pitch.