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Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich talks over Pep Guardiola’s influence and the threat of Liverpool

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The right-back extraordinaire knows that Bayern Munich will have its hands full in trying to contain Liverpool, while also crediting Pep Guardiola with helping mold him as a player.

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Bayern Munich right-back Joshua Kimmich sat down with The Independent and spoke about his role with Die Roten, Pep Guardiola’s influence, and the upcoming Champions League battle with Liverpool.

Kimmich’s vocal and — sometimes — volatile style has many in the front office and even more of the club’s supporters targeting the 24-year-old as a future captain. The role and responsibility of such a title are aspects of the game that Kimmich wholeheartedly embraces already:

When you are on the pitch, you want to take responsibility. Also when you play so many minutes like me: every game I am on the pitch, so I have a lot of responsibility, and so I want to take this. For me it doesn’t matter if I am captain or not, when I am on the pitch I want to show my best performance, and I want to be always a good team-mate for the others and help them when they make mistakes; and also I hope when I make mistakes that my team-mates are there for me. When I say something is going wrong, I say to my team-mates. I’m a really emotional player, and I’m not scared to say my opinion.

Kimmich credits much of his development to being able to emerge at a time when Pep Guardiola was manning the helm for the Bavarians. To no one’s surprise, Kimmich commended the Manchester City manager for the positive influence he had on the Germany international.

When I came to Bayern, I was a second-division player. For me it was a new world. The coach showed me a lot, showed me the spaces on the pitch. I trained a lot with world-class players, so I improved a lot just from training. The coach was amazing. Soon I was a national player, competing in the Euros. He changed me. He inspired me.

Specifically, Kimmich appreciated Guardiola’s direct style of communication.

He’s really emotional, so when he sees if there’s something going wrong, or if you made a mistake, he has to talk to you directly, not in the dressing room or one day after. He wants you to understand the situation, and it’s much easier as a player that way. Then you think, “I know what you mean.” This is Pep Guardiola. You have trust in him, because you know he’s honest. It’s amazing how emotional he is, on the field, with the fans. You can see how he pushes his players — he can push them to another level. Every player is better with this coach.

When the conversation turned to Liverpool, Kimmich acknowledged that Bayern has a big task in front of it. Kimmich, himself, will have to play more disciplined than he has all season to try and prevent the explosive Liverpool attackers from overwhelming Bayern’s center back duo of Mats Hummels and Niklas Sule.

When you see their style of playing, they have a really good defense, and their offensive line is also amazing. They have a lot of speed, they have players who are tough in the duels. It won’t be easy to fight against them. Jurgen Klopp did great work over there.