After some teething problems after moving from Schalke 04 to FC Bayern Munich in summer 2018, Leon Goretzka has now established himself as a leading player at the German record champions. Uli Hoeneß also praised the 26-year-old’s development.
“At the beginning he took no responsibility, he stayed in the background. In the first few months he did not meet our expectations,” said today’s honorary president of FC Bayern France Football. “Then he realized what it was like to wear the Bayern shirt. His character and personality have made him an important player.”
Bayern’s sports director Hasan Salihamidzic was similarly pleased with the development of the central midfielder. “He’s working his way up the internal team hierarchy. His progress shows that he is taking on more and more responsibility,” said Salihamidzic. “I am absolutely convinced that he will be one of the leaders who will shape the future of the club.”
When asked about Goretzka, Bayern coach Hansi Flick emphasized that he “can rely on him in every situation”. Flick continues: “He is clear about his role and lives it very conscientiously. He is a player for whom the team comes first. It is a pleasure for every coach to have such a player.”
In 25 competitive appearances in the current season, Goretzka has so far scored seven goals and eight assists. Most recently, he scored a goal in the Bundesliga both in the 4-2 win against Borussia Dortmund and in the 3-1 win against Werder Bremen. However, his influence on Bayern’s game goes far beyond that.
Joachim Löw compares Leon Goretzka with Michael Ballack
“Leon is very valuable off the ball because he is so dynamic and works hard,” said Flick. “He always finds the right mix in terms of aggressiveness. That allows him to win the balls and play the deep pass into the top. He has made a meteoric rise in the last few months.”
Of course, that didn’t pass the national coach by. “Leon reminds me of Ballack with his style, his headball strength and his running strength,” said Joachim Löw. “He was heavily criticized when his move from Schalke to Bayern was announced, but he worked hard to meet the expectations of him. He’s incredibly dynamic and always playable. He’s very intelligent. He’s on the opposing sixteen always dangerous because having either a passport or a degree can make all the difference. That is his greatest strength. “