Joshua Kimmich is one of the certifiable stars of this Bayern Munich squad and is really one of the few players whose position in the “Starting XI” will not be challenged on a weekly basis.
Many have identified him as a future leader and captain for Die Roten and now the 23-year old is starting to grow into that role as he spoke on a number of topics in an interview with Spox.com.
Kimmich addressed the squad’s performance against Manchester United and was frank in his assessment of both Bayern and the Red Devils.
I thought the first half was quite all right, although we also might have played with a bit more pace. We broke through on the outside relatively well; they made it quite tight in the middle. United didn’t want to play soccer. That played many long balls and didn’t have a single scoring chance. Our coach’s instructions were to create scoring chances from outside and play good gegenpressing. We succeeded quite nicely.
The comment on Manchester United’s unwillingness to try and match Bayern’s skill-for-skill is one that will resonate with many. It is that type of assessment and critique where a young player really starts to assert himself with honesty on his own team and the opposition.
That truthfulness carried over into Kimmich’s take on how the focus on physical training by Niko Kovač and his staff will have Bayern better prepared for the long haul. Specifically, Kimmich was asked about how Kovač’s regimen differed from Carlo Ancelotti’s philosophy (or lack thereof).
I was fit then and am fit again now. The training now, however, is more comprehensive. We train longer and more attention is paid to endurance. I’m convinced that it will benefit us during the season.
When asked about Die Roten’s performance last season, Kimmich, again, pulled no punches when lamenting the team’s failures in the Champions League and DFB-Pokal.
If you see how we were still in business everywhere in April, it’s really annoying how we gave everything away. For me personally, though, it was a great year, because I came through it healthy. That was my first season at right-back and I was able to play in almost every game. Although, I have to qualify that a bit: it wasn’t a really great year without the team successes. Getting over the World Cup took a few days during my vacation. I think that I’ve learned a great deal from this time.
Kimmich may have been disappointed in himself and his teammates over the lack of team success, but he credited Jupp Heynckes for saving the season after it had veered way off course under Ancelotti. When asked about the recent awards of Heynckes as German Coach of the Year and Toni Kroos as German Player of the Year, Kimmich was on board with the selections.
I can totally understand the decisions. Toni has won the Champions League three times -- nobody else can claim that. And it was wild how Jupp Heynckes brought us back on track at 72 years old. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough in the end to win the really big titles.
Along with the aforementioned awards, the news of Mario Gomez’s retirement also hit home for Kimmich, who admired the leadership and veteran presence that the VfB Stuttgart striker brought to Die Mannschaft.
I think it’s a shame. It was special how he presented himself at the World Cup. He was an absolute leader, even if he wasn’t a starter anymore. He held back for the team, but he always said something when something occurred for him. That was very important for us.
Finally, when the subject of the DFL-Supercup came up, Kimmich was eager for the chance to get a shot at Eintracht Frankfurt after the last season’s DFB-Pokal drubbing at the hands of Die Adler.
Everyone who plays with us is hungry for titles. We still have an open tab with Frankfurt, even if the DFB-Pokal final can’t be made up.
The DFL-Supercup will be intriguing for a number of reasons, not the least of which is because of how embarrassing Bayern’s performance in that DFB-Pokal game was. When also factoring in that it will be Kovač’s first game against his former team, the excitement and drama should be much higher than a normal game in August.
I think that the game will be something special for the coach.
This is a key season for Kimmich in a lot of ways. He will be relied upon to not only play a lot of minutes, but also produce both offensively and defensively. Having his skill-set and offensive prowess at right back is a true weapon that Kovač will likely seek to maximize within the team’s attack. That said, Kimmich did experience defensive lapses at times last season. Striking a better balance of when to attack versus when to stay home should be the next step in his development after getting a full-year year under his belt at the position.
There is no question, however, that Kimmich will be a vital cog in the Bayern machine for years to come.