Bayern Munich alumni Didi Hamann looks at the club’s central midfield and can only see issues.
For Hamann, it starts with the lack of a true defensive midfielder. The 48-year-old says that both Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka are too offensive-minded to create a sense of stability in front of the backline.
“Kimmich is not a destroyer. He wants to set up the offense, but he needs to provide stability and balance. He does not fulfill this core task,” Hamann wrote in a column in kicker (as captured by Sport1). “A six, he is not. Bayern are interested in Leipzig’s (Konrad) Laimer for this job, who I think is a very good player. He can fill this position well. And then you have to see first if Kimmich has the offensive actions as an eight as he does now, because he has the whole game in front of him. In the eight position, it’s not uncommon for you to have to take the ball with your back to the goal. I’m curious to see if and how he grows into this role.”
Hamann, though was not done in his critique of Kimmich. Hamann praised his IQ and his hard-nosed style of play, but just think he might be miscast.
“He is an outstanding, intelligent footballer. That’s why he can play in so many positions. But I don’t think he’s ready to sacrifice himself for the team at the six position,” Hamann said. “A six — and this is how I interpreted it — has to play the same way when you’re 3-0 up as when you’re 3-0 down. Others are responsible for creativity in the offense, even if a six-man can intervene sporadically. The focus for him is on organization.”
Hamann, though, did say that Kimmich and Goretzka could be the solution, if the backline performs better than it did this season.
“Kimmich and Goretzka can function when David Alaba and Jerome Boateng defend behind them. But with a vulnerable central defense, you need a defensive man in front of them. And the great teams of the past 20 years have all had outstanding, often underrated, but primarily defensive midfielders,” Hamann said. “On a side note, FC Bayern became Champions League winners in 2020 when Kimmich played right-back in the final tournament in Lisbon.”
As for what kind of partnership he would like to see in Munich, Hamann wants the club to replicate a legendary duo: Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martínez.
“They complemented each other wonderfully. Javi was the clearer and the ball-winner, Schweinsteiger the shaper, who made up for the meter of speed he lacked with his game intelligence,” Hamann said.
While Hamann does offer some valid criticism, it would be highly unlikely that Bayern Munich would sign Kimmich and Goretzka to long-term, lucrative deals — and then promptly ship one of them to the bench.