Bayern Munich’s present and future — not necessarily separate — in midfield shone brightly in this latest round of the DFB-Pokal. Joshua Kimmich collected the man of the match award in Bayern’s 4-0 demolition of Mainz 05, and incoming free transfer Konrad Laimer equaled that feat for RB Leipzig, who won 3-1 over Hoffenheim.
Kimmich played all ninety minutes for Bayern yet again and was, as usual, at the center of everything Bayern did. The lone pivot ahead of the back three, Kimmich was often counted on to link defense to attack and delivered on 3/3 of his trademark long balls — while adding 82/92 passing (89%) and an assist (stats via SofaScore.com).
Laimer — apparently Bayern manager Julian Nagelsmann’s favored “pressing machine” — also went the distance. He didn’t have as much influence in passing (61/69) but competed for and won more ground duels and tackles. And he had a terrific goal.
If Laimer and Kimmich are to complement each other in the same XI one day, the particular formation used against Mainz might not be it. Laimer’s role seems more defensive, and it might help Kimmich pull the strings from further up the pitch in a back four — rather than be the tempo man behind two free-running eights in Leroy Sané and Jamal Musiala.
But who knows what Julian Nagelsmann will have cooked up his sleeve? For now, let’s just savor that this is a squad partnership we can look forward to.
Interested in a more in-depth look at the match, including the formation/tactics deployed by Julian Nagelsmann, Joao Cancelo’s debut, and the amazing influence of Thomas Muller? Well, why not check out our postgame podcast? We talk about all that and more! Listen below or on Spotify.
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