Leon Goretzka marked his return to action in Bayern Munich’s 5-0 win of Viktoria Koln in the DFB-Pokal last week and marked the occasion with a goal to his name. He’d been out for a considerable spell with a knee problem that required an operation to fix, but he’ll now be welcomed depth in Bayern’s midfield for Julian Nagelsmann as the English Weeks approach thick and fast for Bayern, pushing across all three fronts. From now until the winter break for the World Cup in Qatar, Bayern will be playing just about every 3-5 days, which wil certainly start to take its toll at some point, eventually.
Against Koln, Goretzka clocked a total of 22 minutes, and was also used as a late sub in the 1-1 draw at Union Berlin, claiming a five-minute cameo. When he was sidelined, Nagelsmann had been able to use a combination of Joshua Kimmich, Marcel Sabitzer, and Ryan Gravenberch in the center of midfield and Sabitzer, in particular, has looked almost a brand-new player compared to the form he put forth last season. Now that Goretzka is back, though, Nagelsmann’s plan is to start to integrate him back into the squad by incrementally giving him more and more minutes, as he confirmed in the press conference prior to the match at Union Berlin.
“He did very well in the Pokal game. Leon had fitness problems, but that’s not his fault. We’ll give him more and more rhythm. He’s a very important player,” Nagelsmann said of Goretzka in the press conference (via @iMiaSanMia on Twitter).
In previous season’s, Bayern very well may have been guilty of rushing Goretzka back from knee injuries, as he’s had persistent problems with his patellar tendon. While Bayern got an important result in the Hinrunde installment of Der Klassiker last season (3-2 win), it might’ve been a stretch to play Goretzka for at least 60 minutes in that match, as it took him a good three months to recover from. He missed an important stretch of matches in a season where depth truly ran thin at times for Nagelsmann, so load management is something that’s going to be a point of emphasis this time around.
“I hope he stays healthy and that we manage his workload, so he won’t get injured again this year,” Nagelsmann stressed.