Leon Goretzka has arguably been one of Bayern Munich’s most improved players this season, especially since the Bundesliga’s restart after the break in play due to the coronavirus. He’s played a vital role in Hansi Flick’s midfield and has been a consistently positive presence in the center of the pitch for Bayern.
Speaking ahead of Bayern’s massive Champions League quarter-finals clash against Barcelona, via kicker, Goretzka said that Bayern has every chance of beating Barcelona, especially in a knockout match instead of a two-legged tie. In two-legged affairs, he said “the probability is higher that the presumably stronger team wins.”
He went on to equate the new knockout format in the Champions League to the DFB-Pokal: “[With two legs,] a bit of the excitement that surprises sometimes happen is lost. I’m a big fan of the DFB-Pokal, after all.”
There can now be added pressure on the remaining matches since they’re one off, knockout matches. There’s no planning for different playing styles and tactics for the home and away legs. Goretzka added that Bayern is 100% up for the challenge and ready for the task at hand in the form of Barcelona: “We’re in the Champions League, in the knockout games. There’s no easy way anymore. We’re totally raring to go; we actually couldn’t be more.”
Of course, Goretzka and Bayern will be tasked with the tall order of trying to contain Lionel Messi. The Argentine showcased his incredible ability with an amazing solo effort goal in their 3-1 win over SSC Napoli in their second leg of the round of 16; there’s absolutely no doubting the fact that he’s capable of anything in this competition.
Goretzka is confident Bayern can do what it takes to keep Messi at bay, though, as long as everyone does their job. When he was directly asked about thwarting arguably the world’s best player, he said “hundreds or thousands of people have already tried to get me to answer this question. I think it works only collectively. Everyone knows what an exceptionally gifted player he is. We simply have to fight back as a team and make sure we play our game.”