Joshua Kimmich currently faces a difficult physical and mental road to recovery after having a successful operation to repair a torn meniscus sustained in Bayern Munich’s 3-2 der Klassiker win over Borussia Dortmund last weekend. He took to Instagram earlier this week to show his positive attitude after coming out of surgery, but there’s certainty a difficult mental battle ahead to stay motivated for Bayern’s number 6. Self-doubt is something that has a susceptibility to creep in during trying times like this, but in a recent interview with FC Bayern’s official podcast (via SportBild), Kimmich highlighted periods in his career where he’s experienced the feeling.
Even now, Kimmich admitted, there are times when he feels self-doubt after performances where he might not have played as well as he would’ve wanted to: “There are always phases in which you have self-doubt. Even now, when you win the Champions League, you have games where you don’t play that well yourself and then you think: ‘You have to get better there. It can’t be.”
In particular, Kimmich went on to say that he experienced the most diffidence at Bayern when Carlo Ancelotti was manager from 2016-2017. Kimmich had burst onto the scene for Bayern under previous manager Pep Guardiola, but said that there were a lot of times during Ancelotti’s tenure that made him doubt himself and wonder why he wasn’t playing as much: “I also had a more difficult phase at Bayern when Carlo was there. I had a very good first year with Pep beforehand. I came as a second division player and was a national player at the end of the season. I’ve taken a big step there. At Carlo’s, I first had to get in line again, and then you have days when you drive home and ask yourself: ‘Is that enough? Is your quality enough to play at Bayern Munich?”
Of course, there were several players in the squad at the time that took issue with Ancelotti and that was quickly cured when he was replaced by Jupp Heynckes to close out the 2017/18 campaign. Even Uli Hoeness had confirmed that Ancelotti had completely lost the dressing room and that there was a core group of players that wanted Ancelotti dismissed. The Italian’s tenure wasn’t exactly covered in glory despite winning the Bundesliga title and getting knocked out of the Champions League quarter-finals controversially by Real Madrid thanks to some terrible non-offside calls.
Kimmich also looked backed to earlier in his career when he moved from VfB Stuttgart’s youth team to RB Leipzig when he was 18. “When I was young, I had problems with my pubic bone for three or four years,” he said. “I was lucky enough to move from Stuttgart to Leipzig at the age of 18. I probably would have wanted to play and train there again straight away, but at the time they said to me: ‘You have to be out for three or four months’ so that I could completely cure this injury,” he continued. He recognized the fact that his desire to continue to play and not take the proper time to heal could’ve been costly had he not listened to his coaches and physios. That experience will help him now as he recovers from his meniscus tear as tough as it will be both physically and mentally.
All smiles from Josh!