'It won't be like Renato's' - Bayern's Goretzka prepares for Schalke return

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The 23-year-old has made only one start this season and will hope to emulate his team-mate by scoring against his old team on Saturday.

Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka is expecting a mixed reception when he returns to former club Schalke for the first time on Saturday.

The Germany international, who joined Bayern on a free transfer in June, is looking forward to going back to Gelsenkirchen after being pencilled in for a starting spot.

However, Goretzka does not anticipate receiving the same positive reaction from supporters which Bayern team-mate Renato Sanches enjoyed at Benfica in the Champions League in midweek.

"I think it will be similar to my departure,” Goretzka told Kicker. “There are two camps, the ones who wish you the best and who have understood my change a bit, and the others who are expressing their dissatisfaction. It will be the same on Saturday.

“I guess it will not be quite like Renato’s (return to Benfica).

"For sure this is a special game for me. Personally, I'm just looking forward to coming back to Gelsenkirchen and seeing the old boys again." 

"I arrived here very well, had very good, intense weeks to start, I am doing very well, I feel accepted." 

Goretzka’s only start of the season so far came in a 3-0 win at Stuttgart on September 1, but Bayern coach Niko Kovac confirmed the player will face his old club.

Kovac, who left Goretzka out of his squad for the subsequent victory over Bayer Leverkusen and then used him as a late substitute in the Champions League win against Benfica, said the 23-year-old had done enough to earn a start this weekend.

"Leon Goretzka is playing well so far," Kovac told reporters.

"He has integrated well in the team. I'm convinced that he will do well tomorrow and will be in the starting 11.

Kovac wants his side to put in another dominant performance against Schalke, but admitted it will be a tough assignment for his players.

"Against Schalke we want to pick up where we left off last week against Leverkusen. I'm expecting an aggressive, intensive match.

"If we play our best, we can win this game too. Otherwise it will be difficult."

Kovac will hope Goretzka can emulate team-mate Sanches by scoring against his old employers, with the Portuguese midfielder netting against Benfica on Wednesday.

Sanches scored Bayern's second in the 2-0 triumph as he made his first start for the German champions since May 2017.

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Kovac praised Sanches and gave a positive assessment of his squad's fitness ahead of the trip to Gelsenkirchen.

"Renato did very well against Benfica. He justified the faith we have put in him and he will play regularly in the coming weeks."

"Every player that went to Lisbon is fit. The only absentees from the squad are [Kingsley] Coman, Rafinha and [Corentin] Tolisso. Otherwise everyone is fit and will be available tomorrow."

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