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Midweek Warm-up: Joshua Kimmich is the world’s best midfielder; A Club World Cup prediction; and MORE!

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It’s GAME DAY! Bayern Munich will take on Al Ahly in the Club World Cup.

Borussia Moenchengladbach v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images

I woke up a little more tired than usual after watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stifle the Kansas City Chiefs into submission in the Super Bowl last night. The Bucs walked away with an improbable 31-9 victory and firmly cemented Tom Brady’s place in the game’s history as the best to have ever done it.

Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pulled off what seemed highly unlikely early in the season. It took a while for that team to gel, but as he always seems to do, Brady absolutely milked the most out of his teammates — and combined with brilliant offensive and defensive game plans — led his squad to title when many had already written them off.

FC Schalke 04 v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga
Joshua Kimmich has asserted himself as the world’s best midfielder.
Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images

Brady is a unique figure in sports. He’s a psychopath who has dedicated his entire existence to winning. A true underdog story, Brady rose from the bottom run of New England’s depth chart to being the player widely recognized at the “Greatest of all Time.”

That profile might sound familiar to some Bayern Munich fans.

Anyway, sometimes you just know greatness when you see it and the first time I saw Brady play (in taking over for an injured Drew Bledsoe), you could see that he had “something” different about him.

I felt the same way when I first saw Joshua Kimmich suit up for Bayern Munich.

Now, I won’t go down the road of comparing players across different sports as that is a bit silly, but the point is how good it feels when you are a regular Joe (or Joan!) and you recognize the potential for stardom before it happens.

Though he was not a freak athlete with overwhelming size, strength, or speed, Kimmich showed that he had “it” even while scuffling a bit in the 2015/2016 season. Whether he was used at right-back, center-back, or in the midfield, Kimmich had a unique blend of calmness and fire that blended perfectly on the pitch.

From that point, all Kimmich has done was grow into respective roles of starting player to star to team leader. Simply put, Kimmich is everything you can ask for on the pitch and a stand-up guy off of it.

It is fair to suggest that Kimmich could be the world’s most complete player right now.

While the 26-year-old might not get the respect he deserves just yet from a global perspective, people are watching — and they’re learning about what they’ve been missing.

As Bayern Munich fans, you are lucky. You’ve been on this journey with Kimmich from the outset. And whether you realized it or not at the time, that spunky little kid who transferred over from RB Leipzig had that something special that only the “best of the best” have as part of their mental and physical profile.

So, enjoy this time in watching Kimmich. With his fiery mentality, offensive prowess, solid defending, propensity for clutch performances in big moments, and overall comfort with the ball on his foot, Kimmich is at the forefront of the players on the roster guiding Bayern Munich into its next generation.

And there could not be a better person to lead the way.


Nübel should leave on a loan this summer — if Bayern can find a good partner

I never...and I mean never... understood Bayern Munich’s acquisition of Alexander Nübel — from the perspective of the player. From the outset I just simply did not get it and I still don’t:

  • Yup, I get this...he was free. It was a true no-risk proposition for Bayern Munich. Nübel is still a great prospect, but...
  • It was all-risk for Nübel. Manuel Neuer is not a player who sits often, if ever. At a key juncture of his development, Nübel is not getting any game time.
  • While some might have doubted Neuer’s immediate future, he had shown enough signs of being back in form when the Nübel courtship started.
  • The fact is, not even Bayern Munich really knows for sure what it has in Nübel, whose play last season could be described as shaky at best. Sure, he is probably getting better in Bayern Munich’s daily environment, but it seems as if patience is wearing thin within his camp and there does not appear to be an end in sight for Neuer’s form to start to dip.

What happens next for Nübel will be fascinating. A good loan destination won’t be easy to find, so I’m not sure that the 24-year-old will not be right back in the same position next season — only with Christian Früchtl and Ron-Thorben Hoffmann breathing down his neck in competition for the back-up role.

In a way, this is very similar to all of Bayern Munich’s rumored heirs to Thomas Müller. How does the club invest in a replacement for a player who has shown no signs of slowing down? More how do you convince an “heir” to sit back idly just waiting for the resident star to being to fade?

More than anything, it will likely come down to what Nübel wants and how Bayern Munich can make it work.

One thing is certain, though, Neuer does not appear ready to cede his position and Nübel is all dressed up with nowhere to go.


Predictions

When it comes to sports, I know a lot of things. I’m not being conceited, but I’ve spent the majority of my life addicted to reading box-scores, reading analyses, and generally playing, watching, working in, studying, scouting, or writing about a variety of athletic endeavors.

I’m going to make an admission, though...I don’t know anything about Al Ahly more than what we have written about here at Bavarian Football Works. To predict this game is nothing more than an assumption that Bayern Munich is the better team and will play that way.

After shaking off its travel chaos, Bayern Munich has had roughly two days to right itself, adapt to the warmer temperatures, and find its legs. I’m banking on the Bavarians being ready to go in this one.

Admittedly, I’m a little more wary of Tigres than Al Ahly, so we’ll say this one will be a bit of a blowout.

Prediction: Al Ahly 0-4 Bayern Munich

Now, on to our guest prognosticators:

Fergus25: I think Bayern should defeat their foes from Egypt relatively comfortably. Hansi Flick seems set to use a champagne lineup, and with Europe’s best already having been crushed by this Bayern side, it’s hard to see how the African side come out of this one with a win. However, it must be noted how little the Bavarian’s have had in terms of rest time since their last match, and also the effects of a delayed long journey to Qatar and everything its vastly different climate provides. These factors could easily turn the game from being a foregone conclusion, to a 90-minute intercontinental battle. That said, I’m predicting goals from the red hot Kingsley Coman, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller will secure an easy victory. Bayern may be playing Egyptian opponents but there will only be one team in Qatar leaving the stadium in a tomb.

Prediction: Al Ahly 1-3 Bayern Munich

Jack Laushway: After Lewandowski missed a penalty on Friday he will be craving goals and score twice as Bayern sail to a victory over Al Ahly. Manuel Neuer will record a clean sheet with four saves in their 3-0 victory.

Prediction: Al Ahly 0-3 Bayern Munich


Prediction Records

Another solid week to get back up to .500, but Mother Nature is obviously against me getting back on the winning side overall as she dumped a mountain of snow on the Arminia Bielefeld vs. Werder Bremen match causing it to be postponed.

Last Bundesliga match day record: 5-3*

(*Arminia Bielefeld vs. Werder Bremen was postponed)

Overall record: 93-93*

Guest predictors’ record: 20-4

(*includes DFL-Supercup, DFB-Pokal, and Champions League)