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Joshua Kimmich: “right back” to excellence for Bayern Munich against Barcelona

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While he may now be known for his prowess in the central midfield, Joshua Kimmich was a star at right-back for Bayern Munich against FC Barcelona.

Barcelona v Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Photo by Rafael Marchante/Pool via Getty Images

There is no question that Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich has evolved into one of the world’s premier central midfielders. On account of an injury to Benjamin Pavard, however, Kimmich has returned to a position where he spent years slumming — and dominating: right-back.

To say the results were less-than-terrific would be doing the 25-year-old a great disservice. Kimmich was nothing short of exceptional.

FC Barcelona had absolutely no answer for Kimmich on the day and resulted to various forms of assault and battery to try and slow down a guy moonlighting at what now might be his second-best position.

Think about that for a bit.

Kimmich had the twofold responsibility of thwarting the vaunted Barca attack led by players like Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Arturo Vidal, and Frenkie De Jong while also creating offense from the flank. And Kimmich not only performed admirably in his throwback to right-back, he excelled.

With a goal and an assist, Kimmich was an absolute force offensively. After his helper on Thomas Müller’s second goal extended Bayern Munich’s lead to 4-1, Kimmich was just biding his time until he went for a goal of his own.

In the 63rd minute Kimmich saw Alphonso Davies about to scorch Nelson Semedo (cause of death — “.Gifstration”), crashed right down the middle of the box, and slid a shot by Marc-André ter Stegen for Bayern Munich’s first goal of the second half and a dominant 5-1 lead.

This play was so good, our own Tom Adams gave it its own post:

Any hope that Barcelona had of clawing its way back into the game was swiftly and effectively ended by Kimmich’s timely run into the box.

It was not just Kimmich’s offensive prowess that made him so valuable on the day. Kimmich was arguably Bayern Munich’s best defensive player in the game. While Davies, David Alaba, and Jerome Boateng all struggled at times with consistency during the contest, Kimmich was a rock for the entirety of the game.

Kimmich’s return to right-back might only end up being a brief cameo, but it has to make Hansi Flick feel good that should Pavard go down again, the best right-back in the world is only a whistle and point away.