Despite four wins on the bounce across competitions for Bayern Munich, Joshua Kimmich has been critical of his side’s collective performances, saying that there’s still a lot of work to be done. Most recently, Bayern handed Tottenham a 7-2 thrashing in Champions League group B action, a match in which Kimmich scored Bayern’s first goal after they’d been trailing 1-0 in the first half. Even after Bayern went on to secure the historic victory in North London, Kimmich still felt that Bayern’s performance could’ve been better.
Club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had gently chided Kimmich for being critical of the team’s performance at Paderborn last weekend, but Kimmich said that had nothing to do with his outstanding performance against Tottenham. Even if Rummenigge hadn’t delivered an indirect pot shot, he felt, he still would’ve scored the goal and went on to had a fine performance in the 7-2 win.
Before the team traveled to North London, Rummenigge said (in reference to Kimmich) “Whoever criticizes also has to deliver a great performance.” Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic echoed Rummenigge’s opinion by saying (SportBild):
Whoever opens his mouth obviously also has to take the lead out in front. Such demands would spur Kimmich on. He wants to win, every game and ideally the big titles.
A sign of a growing leader?
Following the 7-2 win over Tottenham, Salihamidzic lauded Kimmich’s performance, saying that “he gave the right answer” with his strong individual performance. For what it’s worth on the surface, the fact that Kimmich doubled down on calling for better performances from his teammates put more pressure on himself to deliver, and he did. His criticism perhaps had more merit in correlation with the Paderborn match since Bayern let them back into the match after taking a 2-0 lead, but the fact that Kimmich was not entirely pleased even with the performance against Tottenham is telling.
There is always room for improvement; that’s a concrete fact. If Kimmich isn’t the one saying that in the dressing room, than it’s someone else, even if it’s after a significant win. The 24-year-old has already shown the signs that he is, without a doubt, going to be a future leader and potential captain of the club once some of the more senior figures in the squad have moved on. The susceptibility for complacency to creep its way into the squad after winning seven consecutive Bundesliga titles is always looming and the accountability needs to be there. There’s an element of refreshing reassurance when Kimmich is still calling for his side to make improvements even after taking some indirect criticism from the front office. It’s a sign that he has no problem dealing with the pressure — a hallmark of a future captain.