“According to the stories, I used to play around with potatoes in the kitchen before they got chopped and put into the pan.” So that’s little Leon Goretzka back in the day, a toddler at his mother’s feet, doing keepy-uppies with spuds. Take a moment to visualise that (as an aside, in our mind’s eye he’s in full Bayern München kit). It’s a cute story but it’s also instructive. For here, clearly, is a man who was not only born with an aptitude for football, but also an appetite for victuals.
As the German midfielder has grown, matured and stopped kicking potatoes around, so too have his taste buds developed. Because now his favourite way to while away the time is not with a starchy tuber, but with a roasted bean or two.
“There are few things nicer for me than, after we’ve won a game, having a quick training session the next day and then going to sit down in a café in Munich and drinking a coffee – watching people, enjoying the sun,” says Goretzka. “For me, that is quality of life and I enjoy it very much. It’s a great passion of mine.”
And what’s his favoured means of delivery? “Since I don’t drink cow’s milk, I enjoy drinking a cappuccino with oat milk – or an espresso. I like trying lots of different things. I’ll never say no to a coffee.”
Coffee culture is alive and kicking in Munich, so while the 28-year-old won’t divulge his favourite haunt – “I do have one, but I don’t want to do any advertising for them!” – he’s certainly got plenty of cafés to choose from. There are the old-school ones with chandeliers on the ceiling and the more minimalist, modern options, in a city that embraces the caffeine scene. “Kaffee und Kuchen” is a popular pastime: coffee, cake and either a newspaper or a spot of people-watching.