Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich is one of the most dangerous right-backs on the planet because of his expert vision, precision passing, and ability to generate offense for himself and his teammates. He leads the team in assists this season, with a whopping 13 assists in 33 games.
Sometimes, however, that offensive prowess has left Bayern’s defense in the precarious position of being under-manned against counter attacks. Per a report by kicker (via Sport.de), it was communicated to Kimmich that he needed to be more mindful of his defensive responsibilities ahead of Bayern’s Champions League match against Liverpool.
The national player supposedly received an “internal message” from the Bayern bosses. Its tenor: the 24-year-old should concentrate more on his defensive duties. That is what kicker reports.
Kimmich’s attention to his defensive responsibilities was evident to many onlookers, including Bayern president Uli Hoeness. Hoeness suspected that Niko Kovac had “spoken with this or that player to the effect that they shouldn’t let the opponent constantly make runs behind their back.”
From his vantage point, Manuel Neuer could also see the marked difference in positioning and awareness from the outside back duo of Kimmich and David Alaba.
Against Liverpool, we set up with our outside-backs more compact and didn’t intervene (on offense) as often.
The renewed focus on the defensive aspects of playing outside-back proved to be extremely effective against Liverpool and helped slow down one of the fastest and most lethal attacks in all of soccer. This was a far cry from Kimmich’s earlier performances in the season, many of which did not inspire confidence.
Even Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp noted how disciplined Kimmich and Alaba remained over the course of the game in an interview with Sky Sports.
I’ve seldom seen the two outside-backs David Alaba and Joshua Kimmich play so defensively. And I’ve never seen Serge Gnabry put in so much work at the back.
Center-back Mats Hummels, who turned in an excellent performance of his own at Anfield, lauded the entire defensive unit’s effort. He noted that that the back line was more formidable thanks to the self control exercised by each member, as seen in the post game reactions provided by FCBayern.com.
We were totally disciplined. It was important that we acted well as a unit, that we thought defensively at many positions. The primary goal was to neutralize the opponent’s strengths, and we successfully did so.