Entering the 2019/2020 season, Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka was not even considered a starting player in Bavaria.
Goretzka had shown glimpses of his ability, but had never strung together enough consistent performances to fully win over the Bayern Munich fan base.
What was the problem? Perhaps it was just a matter of getting an opportunity on a regular basis.
One thing is certain, though, once Goretzka was given the starting reins in the central midfield, he has only gotten better and better.
“I try, like everyone else, to show my strengths on the pitch to strengthen the collective,” said Goretzka in an interview with Bundesliga.com. “That’s what makes a successful team, everyone gives their best to strengthen the collective, that’s what I try to do too. It’s often discussed now that I keep it tight in the middle of the pitch with Jo [shua Kimmich], we’re important for the positioning of the team, for the counter-press. To set things up, how we react to losing the ball. I try to use my dynamism to be a goal threat, to win my tackles when we don’t have the ball, to dictate the direction of play. They are the things I’m responsible for.”
Goretzka cites the influence of manager Hansi Flick as a key part of his emergence. The midfielder, however, insists that he is not alone on the list of players that have been positively affected by Flick.
“We’ve all improved both individually and as a team since the (COVID-19) break,” Goretzka remarked. “We’ve taken steps forward. I’ve settled into the team a lot better, that has only happened because of the trust Hansi Flick has in me. He trusted me to take on this role and I hope I have repaid him.”
Goretzka also admitted that Flick’s expectations for him helped drive his renewed focus and effort to reach his potential.
“He wants me to take more responsibility, to support the team vocally, to carry my teammates in the way I play football and make sure we have the right intensity on the pitch. They’re things he expects of me,” said Goretzka. “You can always have a good day or a bad day but there are things which I’m expected to do to help the team and I can do those regardless of what kind of day I’m having.”