Leon Goretzka is still smiling after a triumphant debut season in the colours of double-winners Bayern Munich. - © 2019 DFL
Leon Goretzka is still smiling after a triumphant debut season in the colours of double-winners Bayern Munich. - © 2019 DFL
bundesliga

Leon Goretzka reflects on successful first season at Bayern Munich

Leon Goretzka says he is very happy with his debut season at Bayern Munich, after playing an integral part in the record champions' Bundesliga and DFB Cup double win.

Goretzka joined Bayern last summer following five years at Bundesliga rivals Schalke. The 24-year-old midfielder went on to make 42 appearances in all competitions in 2018/19, including 30 in the Bundesliga. He registered eight goals and four assists, with only Robert Lewandowski (22) and Serge Gnabry (10) scoring more often for Bayern in the league.

"It was my first season at a world-class club, and I think everything went really well," Goretzka told media this week. "We won two titles, and I also realised my own goals: I helped the team, I found my place in the side and I think I also made the next step with the national team, so I’m very happy with how my season went. I might be a bit more critical when I look back on things whilst on holiday, though (smiles)."

Watch: Goretzka claimed the Bundesliga's Player of the Month award back in January

Goretzka might be alone in that regard. As well as making a telling contribution to Bayern's double triumph in terms of goals and assists whilst hitting the mark with an impressive 91 per cent of his attempted passes, the former Bochum academy player displayed versatility in abundance. He lined up in attacking, central and defensive midfield roles, on the right-hand side and even at left-back.

"I've always been open to new things and playing in new positions," Goretzka said. "Being able to play in a variety of positions is definitely one of my strengths. I've played as a right-back and on the left-hand side of the defence before, but I believe my strongest position is in the centre of midfield as a number eight. I can make best use of my strengths in this role. However, the most important thing is that the team is successful and that I'm ready to do whatever is asked of me."

Goreztka showcased his talents at both ends of the pitch for Bayern in 2018/19. - 2018 DFL

Goretzka missed Bayern's DFB Cup final win over RB Leipzig on 25 May through injury, but returned to competitive action in Germany's recent UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers. He was a late substitute in the 2-0 victory in Belarus, and played the full 90 minutes of the 8-0 rout of Estonia, scoring one and assisting another as Die Mannschaft extended their 100 per cent record in Group C to three matches.

"We're still at the beginning of qualification, but we want to get through with minimum fuss," Goretzka said. "Germany is a soccer nation; we're almost always regarded as favorites, based on our previous successes alone. We want to win, no matter who we play. That's the goal. A safe passage into the tournament proper is the priority."

Germany resume their qualifying campaign at home to the Netherlands on 6 September, by which time Goretzka may well have swelled his budding trophy collection. Bayern travel to Borussia Dortmund in the 2019 Supercup on 3 August, before beginning their DFB Cup and Bundesliga title defences on the weekends of 9 and 16 August respectively. The 2019/20 campaign will be Goretzka's seventh in the Bundesliga, and eighth as a professional.