Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka has his sights trained on Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League last 16. - © Simon Hofmann/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images
Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka has his sights trained on Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League last 16. - © Simon Hofmann/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

"Bayern Munich completely focused on Chelsea" - Leon Goretzka


Leon Goretzka says Bayern Munich will be more than ready for the visit of Chelsea to the Allianz Arena in their rearranged UEFA Champions League last-16 second leg next month.

Bayern won 3-0 in London on 25 February, but have not played competitively since completing the domestic double with victory over Bayer Leverkusen in the DFB Cup final on 4 July.

Chelsea, meanwhile, are still battling it out for a top-four finish in the English Premier League, with their season due to finish on 26 July. They could also be involved in the FA Cup final, which takes place seven days before their trip to Munich to face the Bundesliga champions on 8 August.

Frank Lampard's side were outplayed in the first leg at Stamford Bridge, falling to a Serge Gnabry brace and obligatory goal from Robert Lewandowski, but won on their previous trip to the Bavarian capital, beating Bayern 2-1 after extra-time in the 2011/12 Champions League final.

Goretzka is determined to avoid history repeating itself.

"Chelsea have the advantage in that they are travelling to Munich just after the season, while we want to refind our rhythm," the Bayern midfielder told Bild am Sonntag. "We'll do everything to make sure Chelsea won't be successful again in Munich."

A class above: Goretzka (c.) was a second-half substitute in the first leg, helping Bayern see out a dominant 3-0 win. - getty images

Goretzka had not long turned 16 when Bayern let slip a one-goal lead in the Finale dahoam, and was still in the Bochum youth ranks.

While the record champions were busy righting the wrongs of that gut-wrenching loss, ending 2012/13 with an unprecedented Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB Cup treble, Goretzka was making waves in Bundesliga 2.

The now Germany international was duly snapped up by Schalke, where he spent the next five years before moving to Bayern on a free transfer in 2018. Injuries had interrupted his development at Schalke, but a change to a gluten-free diet enabled him to hit the 30-game mark for only the second time in his career.

Goretzka produced eight Bundesliga goals and four assists as Bayern claimed a domestic double, and proved there was more than beginner's luck to his debut-season haul in 2019/20. The 25-year-old had a direct hand in 12 goals in 16 outings between January and June, making 14 starts - including nine in a row following the season restart.

Watch: The numbers stacked up for Goretzka and Bayern late in 2019/20

Goretzka attributes his impressive numbers to his extra work in the gym during the coronavirus-enforced hiatus.

"For me, lockdown was both a crisis and an opportunity," he explained. "A crisis because you miss football and daily training with the team, but also a chance to gain muscle mass in co-ordination with the physiotherapist.

"In crucial games and moments, it is important to be physically and mentally fit. The weight helps me in tackles, makes me a bit more agile and robust. Not only on the ground in a one-on-one, but also in the air."

Goretzka will no doubt have used the time since Bayern put the seal on a second successive Bundesliga-DFB Cup double wisely. After two weeks of "free time", the record champions will reconvene for cyber training on 21 July, before shifting towards full-team exercises and match practice on 26 July.

If Bayern see off Chelsea in Munich on 8 August, they will travel to Portugal to face the winner of the last-16 tie between Barcelona and Napoli in a one-leg quarter-final. Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, La Liga champions Real Madrid and a Juventus team spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo are among their potential opponents in the last four.

"It's clear to every one of us that the competition and our path to the final is extremely challenging," Goretzka admitted. "But we've already had a great season, winning the league and cup. Now our focus is on Chelsea and the Champions League."