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Joshua Kimmich talks Julian Nagelsmann’s “gimmick” video wall and Bayern Munich’s defensive tactical focus

“I’m someone who is extremely excited when you can play more and have to train less.”

Kimmich celebrates Leroy Sané’s fifth goal against RB Leipzig in the DFL-Supercup with a ferocious roar at the crowd. Mané, Gravenberch, nad other teammates converge around Sané.
There’s a player who can’t wait to get back into action!
Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images

Joshua Kimmich gave a wide-ranging interview to Tz prior to Friday’s Bundesliga opener in which he talked about the recent tactical focus under head coach Julian Nagelsmann, as well as Bayern Munich’s recent defensive performances.

Kimmich spoke off the heels of an exciting summer transfer window for the Bavarians, and after they flexed their new look in a dominant 5-3 DFL-Supercup thrashing of RB Leipzig that nonetheless ended far too close on the scoreboard for comfort.

“Too many goals conceded,” he said. “We have to continue to improve there. The set pieces in particular were one of our great strengths last season — both offensively and defensively. In general, it always hurts to concede a goal from a set piece because it’s a fairly easy goal to defend.”

Leipzig had scored their first from a corner and then added a second from the penalty spot. Last season’s defensive frailties are still fresh in the players’ minds, and nobody wants to see this kind of propensity for giving up untimely goals out of nowhere.

“It’s become more tactical since last week,” Kimmich said of the team’s recent training. “The focus is on us conceding fewer goals, on us improving in every respect as far as defending is concerned.”

As for how the head trainer intends to achieve that? By keeping everyone on their toes.

“Julian thinks about a lot of things, including how he can convey content through play,” Kimmich said. “Depending on what he wants to see, he comes up with something - even with rules in the game forms. This makes the training very versatile and always different. Even at the final training session, you often do something different...

“For us players, it sometimes goes very fast with him. You journalists know that Julian can explain a lot of content in a short time.”

A deluge of information is a double-edged sword. It’s important to have the right tactical tweaks — down to precise, minute, individual adjustments for every conceivable scenario — but not so much that players are overloaded with instruction, or too busy processing to react on the field.

To that end, there’s the new video board — trialed at the end of last season but only recently to find a permanent installation at the practice field. Count Kimmich as one of the early skeptics.

“At first I thought, ‘Woah, that’s a gimmick.’ Last week in particular, however, we worked a lot with it,” he said. But with his fast-talking head-coach — “That’s why it’s good that you can see it on the screen on the pitch, correct it and put it into practice. For example, when it comes to how we want to start or how we want to play out the back. Then he shows it on the screen and we try to do it that way. Then it solidifies in the mind.

“The thing is probably very expensive. But I think it can help us a lot.”

Giant, expensive video board: Bayern’s most crucial and underrated transfer of the summer?

Of course, as important as all this practice is, Kimmich is ready to get back to the game — the game that he lives and gives his all for. “I’m someone who is extremely excited when you can play more and have to train less,” he said — while acknowledging the coaches probably feel just the opposite.

For players like Kimmich, though, and for us fans — the season is now upon us. And there’s going to be plenty of action to whet that competitive appetite.

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