'Willing to play in various positions'

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Leon Goretzka’s first week at Säbener Straße was a busy one. Performance tests, photoshoots and video recordings for merchandising and autograph cards, not to mention the first grueling training sessions in the heat since his post-World Cup holiday. On Thursday, the summer recruit faced the media for the first time as a Bayern player.

“I’m very hungry for success with this team,” he told the assembled journalists. “We’ve been working hard for a week with Peter Hermann, and now I’m happy to get to know everyone else.” It has been easy for Goretzka to settle into his new surroundings as he spent the summer with the other German internationals in the squad. As well as that, “the class of ’95 are well represented here, I’ve known the lads for a long time.”

“Lead with performance”

The 23-year-old played with Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Süle and Serge Gnabry for many years in the Germany youth teams. Gnabry is also a new member of the squad, but the other two are already established players – something Goretzka plans to become. “I see myself as capable of taking on a leading role,” commented the confident midfielder, although he added: “To do that I need to prove myself on the pitch and lead with my performance.”

Over the coming weeks, the former Schalke man will be out to prove to Niko Kovac that he deserves a place in the side despite strong competition in midfield. Where exactly he’s deployed is of secondary importance to Goretzka. “Versatility is one of my strengths,” he said. “I need to speak to the coach to find out where he sees me. I’m willing to play in various positions. I prefer playing as a number eight; I see that as my strongest position.”

"The coach is looking forward to working with him"

Hasan Salihamdzic

Goretzka appeared focused and ready for action at his unveiling. He’s dwelled on Germany’s World Cup failure but has now come to terms with it. “I’m concentrating on the challenges ahead here, which are big enough,” said the Germany international, who had agreed the move to FCB long before the tournament in Russia. “I wanted the best option for myself and I’m sure that I’ve found it at FC Bayern.”

Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic is convinced Bayern have made a very good addition to their squad. “Leon’s a really good footballer with good character and qualities that will help take our team forward. He’s dynamic, fast and technically strong. The coach is looking forward to working with him. I’m confident and very optimistic that we’ll enjoy lots of success with Leon in the future,” he told the press proudly.

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