"I've got you covered, buddy!" Leon Goretzka (l.) could fill in for Thomas Müller (r.) when Germany face Hungary in UEFA Euro 2020 Group F. - © imago
"I've got you covered, buddy!" Leon Goretzka (l.) could fill in for Thomas Müller (r.) when Germany face Hungary in UEFA Euro 2020 Group F. - © imago

Germany's Leon Goretzka: "I can play the Thomas Müller role against Hungary"


Leon Goretzka has thrown his hat into the ring as a potential replacement for Bayern Munich teammate Thomas Müller, who will reportedly miss Germany's UEFA Euro 2020 Group F decider against Hungary through injury.

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Müller played every minute of the 1-0 loss to France and 4-2 win over Portugal as a central attacker, but a knee injury means he is a major doubt for his country's final group encounter in Munich on Wednesday.

Despite being a box-to-box midfielder by trade, Goretzka says he would happily line up in a more advanced role in Müller's absence.

"I've got it in me to play the Thomas Müller role," explained the 26-year-old, who made his return from a recurring thigh injury as a second-half substitute against Portugal.

"In many ways, his position for the national time is similar to mine. It's a position I've played in before for the national team, and I'm ready to help the team. The tournament can really begin for me now."

Watch: A closer look at what Leon Goretzka brings to the party

Although Goretzka went on to reveal that Müller "could yet feature", he is psyched at the prospect of making his first start of the tournament at Bayern's space-age home, where over 12,000 supporters are expected to be in attendance.

"I want to thank the fans for the atmosphere in the stadium," he said of the Portugal game. "Hearing everyone singing together, it feels like the stadium is sold out. The atmosphere is extraordinary.

"Friends are saying there's a real sense of euphoria gripping the country - that makes us proud and happy. After two difficult years for the entire nation, it's just nice that we have 82 million national team head coaches rather than 82 million virologists."

Should Goretzka get the nod from Germany boss Joachim Löw, there will be no concerns about him impressing onlookers inside the Allianz Arena and beyond.

Within moments of his introduction last time out, the former Bochum and Schalke man - likened to Michael Ballack in his youth - went agonisingly close to bringing up his 14th senior international goal with a curling strike that grazed the top of the crossbar. He was joint top scorer during Germany's triumphant 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup run, and also has four assists to show for his first 31 outings for Die Mannschaft.

Goretzka (r.) showed no signs of ring rust against Portugal - his first competitive outing since 8 May. - imago

Goretzka's performances for record champions Bayern can't be faulted, either. Across two seasons in which Hansi Flick's side claimed an historic sextuple, and ninth successive Bundesliga title, the Popeye of German football produced 16 goals and 20 assists in all competitions - from midfield.

An athletic 6'2" famed for his stealthy late runs into the opposition box, Löw could scarcely wish for a more suitable replacement for Müller, in a game Germany must win to be absolutely sure of their place in the last 16.

"We have the toughest group by far, and that includes Hungary too, of course," Goretzka warned. "You have to break down their defensive wall. We're highly motivated and will find the right solutions. Our only goal is to win."