Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich is an irreplaceable player. As a central midfielder, Kimmich is equally important to both the offense and defense, while providing crucial link-up play to ensure that the Bavarians are not just possessing the ball, but also progressing into attacking positions.
Kimmich’s vision, tenacity, and ability to raise his level of play in the most clutch situations makes him an indispensable part of Hansi Flick’s dominant Bayern Munich machine.
Now, however, Flick is potentially looking at a minimum of three months without the keystone to his 4-2-3-1 formation. The question that everyone wants answered is, “Where do we go from here?”
The solution might not be as easy as just plugging in “the next man up.” This time without Kimmich will allow Flick the opportunity to get creative with his players — especially for big games.
How Flick rotates his squad against Mainz 05, VfB Stuttgart, Werder Bremen, or any of the middle-of-the-pack to bottom-rung Bundesliga squads likely won’t matter. For those “big games” however, it will be fascinating to see who Flick rolls out as art of his starting XI.
Will he choose Corentin Tolisso — the proverbial “next man up” or does Tolisso’s skillset too closely mirror incumbent starter Leon Goretzka’s playing style?
Will he choose newcomer Marc Roca, who has shown promise, but is also a player that Flick just recently told everyone to have patience with?
Could Flick eventually opt to go with an old and reliable destroyer (Javi Martinez) or a new, but injured defensive-minded possibility (Tanguy Nianzou)?
More, could Flick go off-the-reservation and use David Alaba or Niklas Sule to fill the void. Alaba has had a not-so-secret desire to play in the central midfield, while Sule has had a few successful cameos in the role thanks to his speed, aggression, and deft passing? With an extremely deep and versatile back-line, Flick could easy make such a move.
Clearly, while Kimmich can’t be replaced, but he can be filled in for. It is a matter, however, of who Flick will eventually put his trust in. The true test for Flick’s plan will be on December 1st against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.
Whoever he chooses for that assignment, Flick must ensure he has best and most functional XI ready to move. The 55-year-old skipper has some time to figure it out, but whoever he selects has to find a way to integrate effectively. That player will not have Kimmich’s passing skill or his vision or even his knack for making crucial plays, which means Flick will have to — once again — prove to the world why he is not just one of the best squad managers in the world, but also one of the best strategists.
Flick has not given fans a reason to doubt him as of yet and something tells me that he won’t disappoint Bayern Munich supporters in this situation either.