One of the more curious storylines after Bayern Munich’s shocking 1-0 defeat to FC Augsburg was the alleged behavior of captain Joshua Kimmich. In the course of the game, Kimmich was moved to right-back for a spell, and per Ran.de, complained so much about it that coach Julian Nagelsmann was forced to move him back to the center, with insinuations that this is what left Mathys Tel on the bench.
Now, per kicker’s Georg Holzner, comes a refutation that makes far more sense: it was tactical:
Joshua #Kimmich wurde I Augsburg nicht verschoben, weil er unzufrieden als Rechtsverteidiger war. Es hatte tatsächlich taktische Gründe. Der @FCBayern stellte auf Dreierkette um. Kimmich rutschte dann wieder ins Zentrum, und Bayern hatte einen Offensiven mehr. @kicker— Georg Holzner (@georg_holzner) September 22, 2022
Joshua #Kimmich was not moved in Augsburg because he was dissatisfied as a right-back. It was actually for tactical reasons. FC Bayern switched to a back three. Kimmich then slipped back into the center and Bayern had one more attacker.
Starting right-back Noussair Mazraoui was subbed off in the 62nd minute, apparently still feeling the effects of a heavy challenge in a particularly physical contest. In his place was winger Serge Gnabry, which compelled Kimmich to move to right-back and Jamal Musiala to help make up numbers in midfield.
The configuration would only last about fifteen minutes before Josip Stanišić and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting came on for Jamal Musiala and Sadio Mané — this time Bayern switching to a back three in defense and restoring Kimmich to midfield. Benjamin Pavard, the like-for-like option, wasn’t used at all — perhaps a sign of his readiness after requiring a first-half substitution due to injury in the Champions League midweek against FC Barcelona.
That Choupo-Moting came on at the same time showed clearly Nagelsmann’s judgment at that point in the game to try and find the tying goal through the team’s lone box striker, with the shuffling at the base of his formation to accommodate that. But that didn’t stop the rumors about Kimmich’s anger — who played right wing-back without complaint through all of EURO 2021 when he had to do it for the team — and it hasn’t stopped new supposed grievances about ‘hierarchy’ in the selection of Choupo-Moting over seventeen-year-old winger/forward Mathys Tel.
FC Hollywood is in full swing, or at least, it will be if certain outlets can will it to be. The parties involved themselves seem to be less interested. The bosses are publicly backing their manager, and players — such as Leon Goretzka, previously the named subject of the last round of unhappy player rumors — have expressed annoyance at the nature of the reporting.
It can be hard to tell where it’s more than smoke and where it’s merely imagination. But Kimmich the problem child who can’t stand to play right-back and makes his manager go against his own wishes in-game? Let’s at least put that one to bed now.