Bayern Munich: Niko Kovac can make good use of Leon Goretzka

25 June 2018, Russia, Vatutinki: Soccer, FIFA World Cup 2018, Germany's national team, team quarter. Germany's Leon Goretzka in action during the training session. Photo: Ina Fassbender/dpa (Photo by Ina Fassbender/picture alliance via Getty Images)
25 June 2018, Russia, Vatutinki: Soccer, FIFA World Cup 2018, Germany's national team, team quarter. Germany's Leon Goretzka in action during the training session. Photo: Ina Fassbender/dpa (Photo by Ina Fassbender/picture alliance via Getty Images) /

After finally being secured in a stellar free deal, Leon Goretzka will now aim to cement a spot in the notoriously loaded Bayern Munich midfield.

With the World Cup now at a close, and Germany’s abysmal campaign behind them, now is the time to turn to the key players returning to Bayern Munich. Niko Kovac has a tall order ahead of him for the upcoming season. After his impressive upset victory against Bayern Munich in the DFB Cup final, he’s now taken the reigns for the German champions.

This monumental ask of him is not just the burden of securing silverware for one of Europe’s elite clubs. Niko Kovac, in order to make the trophy cabinet expand, must first learn to properly use the pieces at his disposal. And one of those pieces is new arrival Leon Goretzka.

It is no secret that Bayern Munich are notorious for securing talented midfielders. It can even be argued that this is done to an excessive degree. Regardless of your opinion on the matter, this always leads to an embarrassment of riches for the manager in charge.

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With so many midfield options including the likes of Thiago, Arturo Vidal, Thomas Muller, James Rodriguez, etc., the potential for experimentation is high. However, the key is somehow managing to find the right combination of personnel and formation that really make the starting XI click on the pitch. While the combinations are too many too count, there are only a few — perhaps even just one — that will see Bayern Munich to glory.

How Goretzka’s talents can contribute in a packed Bayern Munich midfield

What could young Leon Goretzka possibly bring to a midfield stacked so full of talent? It is logical to begin with his specific talents that have been under development in recent years while at Schalke and even Germany. Goretzka is young, and as such brings forth a burst of energy and drive to his play in midfield.

He is perhaps the greatest asset to a side when he is allowed the simultaneous freedom and responsibility of covering the pitch from end to end. It is for the this reason that the German youngster is best utilized in a box-to-box central midfield role. This sees him at his best making positive driving runs at the opposition’s end of the pitch, contributing to the attack as either an outlet to score or being a source of distribution for his teammates around him.

However, this also highlights one of his other valuable attributes: versatility. Depending on the formation and personnel that Niko Kovac fields, Goretzka can be asked to play in a straight forward central-attacking-midfield role (as his aforementioned offensive qualities prove useful) or perhaps in a defensive-midfield role shielding the back line.

Although, the latter is admittedly a more experimental position for him. But he’s shown in his box-to-box play that he possesses a tenacity in tracking back that could prove useful in covering Bayern’s most prevalent weaknesses, defending on the counter.

Kovac can use Goretzka to complement others

One of the biggest selling points for using Leon Goretzka in Bayern Munich’s bloating midfield is how well he can play with those around him. Niko Kovac would be wise to analyze Goretzka’s traits and try to match them as best as possible with the other midfielders he has available. Goretzka has his versatility to his favor which could make him a good partner with a variety of Bayern’s midfielders.

One such combination that could make for a winning duo is being paired up with Thiago in the middle of the pitch. Both of these players most positive traits and play-style qualities could make for a dynamic combination. Thiago has clearly demonstrated that his strongest attributes lie in his ability to create and distribute lethal passes across the pitch.

This can be complemented by having the Spaniard deployed in his traditional central-midfield position while having Leon Goretzka placed next to him in a box-to-box midfield role. This could allow security in shielding the back line and also provide extra drive going forward on the offensive.

With Goretzka providing more the tenacity and muscle in the middle of the pitch, Thiago could be allowed the space to orchestrate offensive plays, with Leon Goretzka himself being one of several possible outlets. In defense, Goretzka’s energy and quick pace could give Thiago support on counter-attacks from the opposition and shield the defense.

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This is only one of several combinations. And it is up to Niko Kovac to experiment and bring dynamic partnerships in the midfield to fruition. There is surely an abundance of talent within Bayern’s ranks, and — if used correctly — Leon Goretzka could be a powerful enforcer in the squad.