In an interview with Bundesliga.com, Bayern Munich star midfielder Leon Goretzka spoke fondly of his club’s mentality as it prepares to face Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker. Specifically, Goretzka espoused the squad’s “team first”, selfless structure.
”At Bayern, we’re lucky that we don’t have just one key player but we have a team of 11 key players. Everyone has the potential to decide a game, including myself,” said Goretzka. “I think it’s still a prestigious game in Germany. It gets the most international attention of any other Bundesliga game. It’s a special game for us as well because of previous years, of the competition between us. For me personally, I’m from the Ruhr area and have known a rivalry with Dortmund since I was young. I don’t need any extra motivation. It’s definitely a great game that we can all look forward to.”
Goretzka not only understands the pomp-and-circumstance surrounding Der Klassiker, but also the impact it will have on the standings.
“We just want to win the game and pick up three points,” said Goretzka. “Things are a bit tighter now because of some of our previous results but we’re fully aware of that. We want to do our preparation and we’ll see what happens but we’re concentrating on winning the game.”
As for who might be best poised to challenge the Bavarians for the top spot in the league, Goretzka credited RB Leipzig’s spectacular run this season.
“What I can say about Leipzig is that they’ve been exceptional this season, they have an exceptional coach, and they have managed to get that consistency in the team,” Goretzka stated. “Last year they were looking very good then they caved a little bit. This year they’ve been consistent and are deservedly in second place but we’ll work to make sure it stays that way.”
For Der Klassiker, Goretzka knows Bayern Munich could have any one of a number of player step-up to take the starring role. The squad’s depth and talent, however, are just two of the many reasons why the Bavarians are a handful for the competition.
“It’s difficult to narrow that down to just one reason but we’re very lucky to have a team that has a lot of players who have this mentality. That’s a result of the transfers that we make, to consciously acquire players like this. The players who come here pick it up from the players already here. When I look back at when I first came here it really impressed me from the start,” said Goretzka. “When I think back to players like Thomas [Müller], Jo, David [Alaba], Manu [Neuer], and the first training sessions, you get that you have to win every game. You have to want to win every game. As soon as that isn’t the case, they’re not happy. That rubs off on you. That’s the culture that exists here, it’s what impressed me and why I joined. I’m one of those players now who try to live that for the players who are new in the squad.”
When assessing some of Dortmund’s top threats, Goretzka noted that Bayer Munich respects Borussia Dortmund’s entire roster, but also that the Bavarians see Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho as standouts. Luckily for Goretzka and company, Sancho will miss the contest with an injury.
“We don’t only focus on individual players but of course, players like Haaland and Sancho stand out. Sancho was looking really good before (COVID-19) and Haaland, it’s so impressive what you see from him,” Goretzka said. “This sheer will to score, I really like this, this ambition is so impressive. To only focus on individual players is too simplistic.”