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Marc Roca makes fine starting debut in Stuttgart

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Marc Roca has not had many opportunities to show his skills in Bayern's packed midfield this season. However, the Spaniard got his chance away at Stuttgart (5-0 to FCB) and took it brilliantly. "I rarely praise an individual player ahead of the team, but today Marc deserved it," Julian Nagelsmann said after the final whistle.

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Full commitment in Stuttgart: Marc Roca did not duck a single challenge in midfield.

The Bayern coach had used the midfielder from the start for the first time this season - and he was not disappointed: "Coming in today, and playing the way he did - the way he fought, the way he gave his all, he had an extremely big impact on the game," the 34-year-old continued, offering Roca arguably the finest praise of the evening: "I love players like that, who are very unselfish and show the coach that it was obviously a mistake not to play them so much."

Praise from boss and team-mates

The 25-year-old had only played 78 minutes so far this season. On Tuesday evening, he added another 75 - and Roca definitely gave himself the best chance of even more playing time. "He did a great job today," said Serge Gnabry, praising the starter. The hat-trick goalscorer stressed how important it is that players with less playing time can always step up when needed: "The boys stepped in today, stood up for the team and made the win possible."

Roca himself remained modest in the face of all the praise: "I'm very happy. All the players and the coaching staff helped me. It was a good game for us and an important win," said the 2019 European U21 champion, who has done his stock a world of good in Stuttgart. Just as he had done before in training, as Nagelsmann confirmed: "He's a guy who always gives his all in training, who also shows you sometimes that he's got that fire in his belly. He's a strong character and not a little mouse that hides away. He also speaks his mind and makes it known that he has the ambition to play even more."

This could possibly be the case again next Friday in the last game of the calendar year against Wolfsburg. "It is important that he gets his game time," the head coach reaffirmed. After his supporting role, Roca still lacks some match fitness, which is why he came off with a quarter of an hour to go at VfB: "I didn't substitute him because of his performance, but because he was exhausted," Nagelsmann revealed. "He was happy, but also tired. He was very happy and quite rightly so."

Serge Gnabry was superb in the game against his old club Stuttgart: