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Marc Roca reflects on Bayern Munich’s Hinrunde, staying motivated with reduced minutes

Despite not playing often at all, Roca is still motivated and pleased with Bayern’s hinrunde performances.

Bayern Munich - VfL Wolfsburg Photo by Tobias Hase/picture alliance via Getty Images

So far this season, Marc Roca has made a total of five appearances across all competitions for Bayern Munich, clocking a cumulative total of 228 minutes. Three of said five appearances have come in the form of coming off of the bench, while his most recent two in the Bundesliga were starts; the 5-0 win at VfB Stuttgart and the 4-0 win over VfL Wolfsburg to close out the Hinrunde. Both of those starts came out of necessity from Julian Nagelsmann with the amount of midfielders that were unavailable through injuries and illnesses.

Despite not having many chances to prove his worth, in a recent interview Roca insisted that he still remains motivated at Bayern and that he’s grateful for the support Nagelsmann has showed him. Of course, towards the beginning stages of the season, Roca was recovering from an ankle injury, which didn’t help his cause for finding minutes, but all things considered, he’s pleased with what he’s had to show for the chances he was given. “I was out for two months because of an ankle injury shortly before the start of the season. After that, it was very difficult for me to work out a place and to get working hours. Nevertheless, my personal conclusion is very positive. Also because I’ve played the last four games and felt very good. I train hard every day and I’m happy that the fans could finally see that on the pitch. I’m really looking forward to 2022,” he explained (Bild).

From the end of November up until the winterpause, Roca made all of his appearances between the Champions League and Bundesliga. Bayern, for different periods during that time span, had a bevvy of players unavailable for selection due to coronavirus quarantines and/or injuries, which provided the perfect window for Roca to get, and take the most of his chances. When Bayern resumes action next week against Borussia Monchengladbach, most of the squad will be back fully fit, so Roca might not have a high likelihood of having his run of appearances continuing, at least for now. Despite those logistics, Roca is remaining motivated. “That the break came right now, when I finally played and felt so good on the field, annoys me, of course. But I’m happy because it was important to me to deliver as soon as I got the chance. I did that. Now is the time to take a break to recharge the batteries with the family. But of course I’ll keep training to get back in top form,” he said.

After the 5-0 at Stuttgart in Bayern’s penultimate Bundesliga match of the Hinrunde, Nagelsmann gave Roca special praise for the performance he put forth at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. He started and clocked a total of 75 minutes before being replaced by Tanguy Nianzou. Not only did Nagelsmann give him special praise after the match, but he did so in front of the rest of the squad in the dressing room, for which Roca was grateful. “The coach congratulated me in the locker room for throwing everything in and helping the team so much after I hadn’t played in so long. That he praised me in front of the entire team means a lot to me. I am very grateful to him. It gives me the confidence and energy to keep working hard. The trainer has always tried to help me and to support me in my development. What people have seen of me now is also thanks to him. At Bavaria, however, there is no time to lean back or be complacent,” he said.

Bayern Munich - VfL Wolfsburg Photo by Tobias Hase/picture alliance via Getty Images