Leon Goretzka's dream comeback
He had to let it all out. Leon Goretzka clenched both fists and screamed his joy for his goal, his comeback and yes, probably, about the ecstatic Bayern fans in the away end. "Our fans created a real atmosphere. I already had tingles when I was warming up. When I scored, running over to the corner was a moment I'd been waiting for for a long time. A lot of weight was lifted. I'm overjoyed," said the 27-year-old after FC Bayern's 4-1 victory over Freiburg. It had been almost four months since the number eight had been on the pitch after suffering knee problems. He led the way with his performance and attitude, orchestrating the centre of midfield alongside Joshua Kimmich and scoring the all-important opening goal.
"He should enjoy it"
The anticipation of Goretzka's comeback was palpable in the FCB camp even before the 90 minutes in Freiburg. Head coach Julian Nagelsmann stated: "He should enjoy it. He has trained exceptionally well over the last two weeks. In the end, he should play the way he trained and enjoy being back on the pitch after four months." After his remarkably good training sessions, his comeback performance was also, in Nagelsmann's words, "outstanding".
The set-piece specialists strike
Bayern have aerial supremacy - and not just since their 4-1 win in Freiburg on Saturday afternoon. Goretzka's header after a pinpoint free-kick cross from Kimmich was the FCB's 21st Bundesliga goal from a set-piece this season - the most in the league. Goretzka wasn't just impressive in the air with his goal. No player contested as many aerial duels in the match as him (six), and no-one won more (four). Moreover, Goretzka's immense value for Nagelsmann's team is also reflected in the fact that each of his three goals this season has been the opening goal of the game.
Tackler and midfield motor
"I'm extremely happy for him. It wasn't an easy time for him with the injury. Leon is important for the whole club, he is a figurehead and a very good footballer. He brings in verve and desire. It's very, very valuable that he's back," Nagelsmann said after the final whistle about the midfield motor, who won the most duels (seven) for Bayern, and, besides his goal, also shone in many other moments - such as his scissor kick in the eighth minute or winning the ball from Maximilian Eggestein in the 53rd.
Goretzka: "A huge weight off"
"Game won, goal scored, played from the start," Goretzka said in summary. "It was a difficult time recently because there was hope and then disappointment. It's extremely rewarding when you can make it 1-0 and celebrate with the fans. That was a spine-tingling moment." Goretzka's comeback and convincing team performance in the second half is encouraging as the season heats up in April - hopefully with just as many scenes of celebration as there were in Freiburg.
Read the match report here: