It’s hard to believe that Kingsley Coman has already played for Bayern Munich for five years. Having joined Bayern at the start of the 2015/2016 season, Coman was thought to be the successor of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, who were nearing the twilight years of their respective careers.
Due to a series of injuries to the young Frenchmen, however, plus a late resurgence for Robbery, Coman’s life in Munich was less than stellar for the first few seasons.
Injuries took such a toll on Coman that he actually considered early retirement if his body couldn’t help it. When Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge heard the news, he immediately sought out a conversation with him.
“I took him in my arms and told him that injuries are a part of professional football, and that he shouldn’t worry too much about it, because our medical team will do everything to ensure that he would be fit again to be on the pitch,” Rummenigge told kicker.
Indeed, Coman’s fitness has improved over the course of his career in Munich. His time to shine really came in the 2018/2019 season, when Ribery and Robben took a back seat in their final year at Bayern. After a ligament tear that kept him out for a handful of games at the start of the season, Coman ended up playing all but two of Bayern’s remaining league games from November to May, not to mention five out of Bayern’s six DFB-Pokal games as the team cruised to a domestic double.
In the following season, Coman played the most games he had in a Bayern shirt thus far, thirty-eight to be exact. Yes, there were some injuries here and there, but nothing was enough to stop the Frenchman from achieving what he did. More on that later.
I’m addition, Coman’s skills seem to have drastically improved since the days of his arrival. Gone are the aimless crosses that evaded friend and foe alike. No more is the endless ball hogging that frustrated fans worldwide. Instead, Coman is now a lethal finisher whose runs make defenders shiver, and has the stats to back it up. Since 2017/2018, Coman has recorded at least 15 goals and assists combined per season.
However, what’s probably most important about Coman’s progress is probably his mentality.
“I’m playing for a top club so it’s normal to be surrounded by top players,” he told kicker. “I really like that, because this is the only way we can achieve our goals.”
“I’ve been working on my mental strength for the past few months,” he went on. “I was aware that I still had room for improvement in the end product, be it at finishing or decisive pass. Since the restart, I could implement it well and of course I’m trying to keep being a goal threat.”
Regarding his current form, which saw him score five goals and assist a further eight in just a third of the season, Coman said: “I’m doing pretty well at the moment, which increases my self-confidence and helps my performance.” But he also said that he knows that hard times may come, and regardless, that he will be ready when they do. “I’ve gained a lot of experience and know that I will continue to believe in myself,” he said.
His good run in the past few seasons has also earned him the respect of his bosses. “He’s one of the best players in Europe on the flanks,” said president Herbert Hainer. Rummenigge added that “Kingsley is an absolute top player today, extremely valuable to FC Bayern. It often makes all the difference, especially when it matters.”
True to Rummenigge’s word, Coman has had a hand in some pretty important moments in Bayern’s success over the past five years. Just in his first season, who can forget his run and beautiful curler against his former club Juventus that sealed a 4-2 comeback win in the Champions League? It was he who scored the opener that led to a 5-1 title-winning victory against Eintracht Frankfurt last year, and it was also his exquisite touch, turn, and finish in the DFB-Pokal final a week later that killed off any chance of an unlikely comeback from opponents Leipzig.
But his crowning moment came on August 23, 2020, in the 59th minute of the Champions League final, when he got onto the end of a Joshua Kimmich cross and headed home the goal that won Bayern their sixth European Cup.
“I always had confidence in myself. But it’s special to score at the very highest level — and in club football there is nothing higher than a CL final,” said Coman. “I’m proud I did my part in winning the CL. That gives me the confidence to make the difference in big and decisive games.”
It seems so, as Coman has now personally played a major part in a Bundesliga title, a DFB-Pokal win, and a Champions League final. It’s probably unsurprising that Rummenigge closed out his kicker interview with a short, yet firm quote: “Kingsley is unsellable.”