Leon Goretzka: From Bochum youngster to Bayern title winner

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Saturday's game will be very special for Leon Goretzka, because he faces the club where he learned to play football. Ahead of the match against VfL Bochum, the midfielder extended his contract with Bayern until 2026. fcbayern.com looks back at his career so far.

Start at Bochum

Goretzka scored his first goal with a header in his debut with the first team.

Goretzka was born on 2 February 1995 in Bochum. After a short period at WSV Bochum, he joined VfL at the age of six. He progressed through all of the youth teams and made his professional debut on 4 August 2012 in a 2-1 home win against Dynamo Dresden on Matchday 1 of the Bundesliga 2 season. Goretzka even scored that day to make it 1-1. The midfielder played 36 times for Bochum and scored four goals.

Breakthrough at Schalke

At Schalke, Goretzka was the driver in midfield and cemented his reputation as a box-to-box player.

Goretzka quickly aroused the interest of many Bundesliga clubs, and after 12 years at Bochum he joined Schalke for the 2013/14 season. One reason for the decision in favour of the Gelsenkirchen club was being close to home so he could complete his school leaver exams. He quickly made the breakthrough at Schalke. He appeared 25 times in his first season, scored four goals and played a major role in his side qualifying for the Champions League. Over the next few years he developed into a regular player despite worries about injury. In total, he made 147 appearances in royal blue (19 goals).

Becoming an international and first title

The first title: Kimmich and Goretzka played brilliantly together at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Of course, his skills did not go unnoticed by national team coach Joachim Löw, who named Goretzka in his provisional squad for the World Cup in Brazil. He made his international debut in a 0-0 draw against Poland in May 2014, but was ruled out of the tournament due to injury. Various other fitness problems saw Goretzka move back to the U21 side, and two years later led the German Olympic team to silver in Rio de Janeiro as captain. He then won his first title at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, where he was the tournament's second top scorer with three goals. Since then he has been an integral part of the national team, earning 38 caps and scoring 14 goals as of September 2021.

Transfer to FC Bayern

Goretzka has been delighting Bayern fans since 2018. He scored his first goal in his third competitive game in red.

Goretzka's goal threat, tackling strength and leadership skills naturally caught the attention of the international community and FC Bayern pulled off a real coup. After his contract at Schalke expired, the Munich side secured the midfielder's services for free in 2018. Bayern had one of the most promising German players in the squad, who immediately proved this reputation. He played 42 competitive games in his first season, scored nine goals and claimed the double of Bundesliga and DFB Cup.

Regular player and transformation

Leon Goretzka before (left) and after (right) the coronavirus break. The physical development is clear to see.

Hunger was stimulated by his first two titles at club level and Goretzka developed more and more into the decisive player he is today. He set the pace in midfield alongside Joshua Kimmich and Thiago. While everything came to a standstill in spring 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Goretzka used the time for training. When play resumed, the midfielder impressed with a muscular body. And this would pay off quickly.

Munich title hunter

Leon Goretzka won what is arguably the most coveted title in club football in August 2020.

Because 2020 turned out to be his most successful year so far. After winning the Bundesliga and the DFB Cup, Paris Saint-Germain were defeated 1-0 in the Champions League final in Lisbon. Goretzka got his hands on the coveted trophy and the treble was complete. With the triumphs in the German and European Super Cups, as well as the FIFA Club World Cup, a historic sextuple was also achieved. Goretzka & Co. won every possible title within a calendar year. With the contract extension, the 26-year-old has proven he's not finished yet. His success story in the Bayern jersey is to be continued.

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