Earlier this week, Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich was named Germany’s footballer of the year for 2021 after receiving 33.8% of the votes from Die Mannschaft fans. He finished ahead of Chelsea’s Kai Havertz (22.7%) and Bayern’s Leroy Sane (13.6%). For the German national team as a collective, it might not have been the best year with the way they were eliminated from Euro 2020 at the hands of England in the round of 16, but Kimmich was, as he often is for club and country, a stalwart for Germany.
He was an integral part of Germany’s World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign despite having missed the last international break of the year due to having coronavirus. He was one of a few bright spots in the team at the Euros, and his two assists against Portugal in the 4-2 win during the group stages typified what was one of his strongest performances for Die Mannschaft in 2021.
Kimmich was honored to have won the award, especially since it’s one that’s selected by the fans, and not by a biased group of journalists (*cough cough*). “It’s a really nice award because it comes from the fans, it’s an honor. And for that I would like to sincerely thank them,” he said, as transcribed by @iMiaSanMia on Twitter. Ironically, it’s yet another individual award collected by a Bayern player that’s not the Ballon d’Or, which Robert Lewandowski lost out to Paris Saint-Germain’s and Argentina’s Lionel Messi last year.
Kimmich also looked forward to this year with the national team. They were one of the first European nations to seal their place in Qatar this winter with another strong qualifying campaign and Kimmich says his sights are fully set on doing well and exceeding expectations there. “Now it’s about the world cup, and I would like to seize every opportunity that presents itself in the best possible way, in other words I want to win titles. We haven’t been able to do that with the national team lately, we definitely have to make up for it.”
He’s well aware of the disappointment from the Euros. They barely scrapped out of the group stages with a last gasp, 2-2 draw against Hungary in Munich and were subsequently knocked out by England in the knockout stages at Wembley stadium. Their failures there are something that Kimmich feels slightly overshadow how much development there’s been in the squad over the past year, especially since Hansi Flick succeeded Joachim Low. “The Euros didn’t go as we imagined. That certainly was the overall impression for the national team in 2021. But the development of the team and the last few games have shown in which direction we’re going,” he said.
Much like the rest of Germany, Kimmich wants Die Mannschaft to be back where they belong as soon as possible and there’s no competition he said they’re going to take lightly this year and onward. “Whether at the World Cup, in the Nations League or in friendly games, we have to do everything we can to achieve our goals so that by the end of 2022 we can look back on a more successful year,” he said.