Bayern Munich’s Leon Goretzka is focused on his club season right now, but the 26-year-old knows he has significant challenge awaiting him this summer during the European Championships.
The Euro 2020 competition is set for 2021 (thanks COVID-19!), but that might have worked out much better for Germany. Joachim Löw’s squad has struggled mightily in the last 18 months and the extra time could actually be a positive for a team in turmoil.
“We’re in a difficult situation at the moment, that’s no secret. We wanted to go through a transition which was then hindered for various reasons. It made things difficult for us,” said Goretzka in an interview with Bundesliga.com. “The last game against Spain was the low point. We need to work our way out of it. Despite all this though, we have got quality in our squad and we can justifiably hope for a successful European Championships.”
Goretzka noted that the team needs to “settle” and get used to each other before the group can fully reach its potential.
“It’s very important that we find a settled team that we want to play with, that’s been a huge challenge for the coach because of a lot of injuries, players missing due to (COVID-19), not many games, not many training sessions,” Goretzka stated. “We’ve hardly had any training sessions. I don’t know how often we’ve played with the same 11 but very seldom. That’s important for a team, you have to know how things are going to play out, to get to know each other better, learn each other’s strengths, learn how to balance out the weaknesses. That’s the key to success for every team and that won’t work fully until during the tournament. We have to make sure we have more than three games but we’ll do that.”
As for his own performance at the Euros, Goretzka is expecting to be a key contributor to the squad.
“Ideally I want to deliver in the Euros in the same way I do at Bayern,” said Goretza. “That’s what I’m talking about, we need to find a settled team which will take us forward. You’ll see then who is needed and for what. Once we have defined that, we have the quality in the team to carry it out.”
One reason Goretzka has some hope is that his Bayern Munich teammate Jamal Musiala declared his allegiance to Die Mannschaft for international play.
“I was really happy about the decision. The fact that he took the time to listen to his heart, that doesn’t happen very often. It’s a real honor to play football for your country and happily he gave it serious thought and listened to his heart,” Goretzka said. “For us, it’ll hugely enrich the squad. He’s showing that he can develop into an exceptional player. He has scored some important goals this season. We’ll keep trying to stay behind him, to push him so he can reach the top of his game. He’s in a good place with us and we’re extremely happy that he chose to play for Germany.”
As for tourney favorites France, Goretzka has not begun the banter with the multitude of French teammates he has on the Bayern Munich roster — and he probably won’t engage at all.
“To be honest it hasn’t come up at all. We’ve got a lot on our plates with the team at the moment and the games are coming so thick and fast that we only really think about the next opponents,” Goretzka said. “I haven’t spoken to any of my French teammates about the Euros.”