In an interview with GQ, former Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer had some kind words to say about Joshua Kimmich as well as some admittedly patriotic optimism about the German team’s chances in the European Championship this upcoming summer. Sammer said,
If I had to pick a favorite now, I’d say Germany. And that’s despite the fact that the team is currently in a state of transition and not everyone considers them a favorite. But I’m patriotic in a positive sense in that regard and German with heart and soul.
Now, cheering for Germany and saying they are the favorites are two very different things. Since their early exit from the 2018 World Cup, to say they are in a state of transition might be downplaying the current state of the senior team. But Sammer seems to think that the Germans might have an ace up their sleeve by the name of Joshua Kimmich. Sammer was effusive in his praise of the 24-year-old, arguing that he will be the key player for the German team.
While dancing around Löw’s controversial decision to cut Thomas Müller, Mats Hummels, and Jerome Baoteng, Sammer argues that Kimmich is the natural choice to fill the gap in leadership Löw created:
I’m glad that Germany still has a player like that. When some experienced players were cut in the course of the transition — which is the responsibility of the coaching staff — one thing irritated me: you can’t confuse flat hierarchies with a clear order that must exist on a team in order for it to be successful.
There has to be a culture of discussion and players who are heard. There also has to be clear decisions, dynamism, friction, and dissatisfaction on the pitch — as Kimmich exemplifies them. It’s inevitable that a flat hierarchy will be impossible with him. Sooner or later he’ll be the guiding spirit of the team. That of course also includes Manuel Neuer and Toni Kroos.
Now, there’s a lot of business’y GQ type lingo in there, but essentially what Sammer is saying is that Kimmich is exactly the type of leader that Germany needs in the wake of Jogi Löw’s decision to cut Mats Hummels, Thomas Müller and Jerome Boateng. Somebody has to fill that leadership void, and Sammer, who was a key architect of a treble winning club, sees those same qualities in Kimmich.
And Kimmich obviously sees those same qualities in himself.