At 22 years old, Joshua Kimmich has already proven himself to be an integral part of both Bayern Munich and the German national team. With Bayern, he’s already collected two Bundesliga titles (2016 and 2017) as well as a DFB-Pokal title (2016). Since joining from RB Leipzig for a fee of only €7 million in the winter of 2015, Kimmich has made over 60 league appearances for Bayern and has quickly established himself at right back, especially after the retirement of Philipp Lahm following the 2016-2017 season.
Kimmich’s quick development has prompted plenty of interest, and BildPlus are even going to be releasing a documentary, “Believe in Yourself” next week. He sat down with Bild (via Bundesliga.com) to talk about his career so far.
On a winning mentality instilled in him by his father
With a club like Bayern, losing matches is somewhat of a rarity, so it comes as no surprise that Kimmich has a hard time accepting a loss. He reminisced to his childhood when his father, Berthold, was the coach of his club team:
I just can't take losing. Once, when my dad was coach of our team in a youth tournament, he gave everyone in the team the same amount of playing time. I went mad because I always wanted to play. When we lost, I just ran off crying.
Throughout his career, Kimmich has found his father to be one of his toughest, yet most supportive critics, and credits him for keeping him humble:
We work off the same page really. I've got a ridiculous amount to thank him for. If he says nothing after a game, then I know I haven't played well. Even today, if I don't make the most of a good chance, he'll tell me that I used to be more clinical in front of goal, and that I'd score with my left and right foot.
On idolizing Xavi Hernandez and Bastian Schweinsteiger
Despite some similarities to Lahm, Kimmich insists that when he was younger, his idols were Xavi Hernandez and Bastian Schweinsteiger:
Xavi Hernandez and Bastian Schweinsteiger [were role models]. Although, my first shirt was Borussia Dortmund's Tomas Rosicky. I also really liked Krasimir Balakov [a two-footed attacking midfielder who finished fourth at the 1994 FIFA World Cup with Bulgaria and played for VfB Stuttgart between 1995 and 2003].
He’s adapted into quite the defensive player, but Kimmich wasn’t always deployed as a defender, and he actually used as a midfielder, similar to the playmaking roles that both Xavi and Schweinsteiger occupied in the peaks of their careers, though neither were really considered to be No. 10 roles:
I was more of a No. 10 when I was younger — the one who set up the goals. But the higher the level I've played, the more defensive my role has become. I've always seen myself as a holding midfielder, but fortunately my current position as part of the back four brings with it plenty of opportunities.
On growing at Leipzig before moving to Bayern Munich
After going through the youth system at VfB Stuttgart, Kimmich played for two seasons at RB Leipzig, who had just started making quite habit of earning promotions through the Regionalligas up until their debut season in the Bundesliga in 2016. Kimmich sees his time at Leipzig as one of the most important phases of his career, and he truly feels that it raised his level of maturity, preparing him for life in the top flight:
The move to Leipzig really helped [my career]. You learn how to play grown-up football in the second and third divisions. It's not two-touch Tiki-Taka football at that level; it's really intense and physical. Knowing how to look after yourself — something I learned back then — really helps me to this day.
It’s not suprising that Kimmich was voted Bayern’s player of the month for October:
There’s absolutely no disguising the fact that Kimmich has already accomplished so much in his young career, he’s remaining as humble as ever, playing down suggestions that he’s a role model:
Personally I don't really see myself as a role model. Although in general it does make me proud when I see children wearing my shirt or people holding signs with my name on it in the stadium. I suppose I'm recognised more often now for selfies and autographs, but fortunately at Bayern we don't have to pay for the shirts we give away!
He’s also quite excited for people to be able to see the documentary and take a closer look at what it’s like to be him:
I thought it [the documentary] was a pretty exciting idea. Back then it wasn't obvious how long and how multi-faceted it would end up being, but I thought originally that the videos could one day make for some nice memories.
Jupp Heynckes clearly knows Kimmich’s worth, too:
Jupp Heynckes on Joshua Kimmich: "He is a gift from god for Bayern Munich."— Bayern mania (@Bayern_mania) November 12, 2017