Just before the brief Bundesliga winter-pause, Joshua Kimmich marked his return to action with an important second half shift in Bayern Munich’s all important 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen. It was his aggressive pressing deep in Leverkusen’s half that led to Robert Lewandowski’s stoppage time winner at the BayArena, a sequence that was indicative of just how much his presence is felt in the squad when he’s fit.
Kimmich is now back fully fit and ready for action and Hansi Flick expressed his delight for that consummation in the press conference previewing Bayern’s match against Mainz (Az). He praised how much of a professional the 25-year-old is and immediately recognized this influence he had after coming on against Leverkusen in the second half: “We immediately had more control in the game. Joshua is very important,” he explained. “Joshua is someone who always drives, who is always one hundred percent focused and has a winning mentality,” Flick continued.
In typical Kimmich fashion, he marked his return slightly ahead of schedule as it was initially feared he’d be out until at least January after having meniscus surgery. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had described Kimmich’s work rate in rehabilitation as “berserk.” For any other player, it might not of been as easy to mark such an early return after a knee injury like that.
In Kimmich’s absence, Bayern played eight competitive matches. They didn’t lose any of those matches, but only won four of them. When they’re both on their day, the dual midfield pivot of Kimmich and Leon Goretzka is one of the best in European football, so it was a huge miss to not have that available for eight matches, though Flick made the best of it with his squad rotations.
Looking forward, Kimmich said he’s raring to press on and he feels that ast year was “just the beginning” of what can be a truly successful, well decorated era at FC Bayern: “I put the greatest pressure on myself because I expect a top performance from myself in every game. You want to shape an era. I don’t have the feeling that we have reached the end of our team. 2020 was just the beginning.”