When Joshua Kimmich was starring as a right-back for Bayern Munich, many people dubbed him “the next Philipp Lahm”, which was a title that Kimmich wanted to no parts of.
Kimmich, of course, meant no disrespect to Lahm, but really wanted to establish his own identity on the pitch and not just be a “2.0” version of someone else.
Now, Lahm is considered one of the big, relatively independent voices observing German football and he has some thoughts on how Kimmich has performed this season, along with an idea on how the midfielder can become a more complete player.
Lahm would like to see Kimmich further embrace his defensive responsibilities.
“He’s an attacking player who understands his position offensively. He can play good passes and distribute the ball well. But he has to work a bit on his mindset and think a bit more defensively,” Lahm told Bild TV (as captured by @iMiaSanMia). “If he does that, he can play as No. 6 without any problems. He can still work on the defensive duels a bit. The question then would be whether to take out his attacking strength for that.”
While Kimmich was a clear No. 6 in the recent past, this season his role has become less defined. Partnering mostly with Marcel Sabitzer so far, Kimmich has functioned more as a No. 8 rather than a deeper-sitting No. 6. Sabitzer has shifted into that role, which has allowed Kimmich to push up into the attack more freely.
If Leon Goretzka can take back his spot in the starting XI, will Kimmich adjust his game? Or will the duo be able to shift seamlessly between positions as they had successfully done in the past.
In the end, it probably depends on what Kimmich wants to do. As of now, though, it looks like he wants to take a more consistent role in the offense, which means whoever his partner is might have to lay back a little more than he might like.