While Joshua Kimmich has made the midfield position his own at Bayern Munich, different managers have the club have had different preferences on where they like to best utilize him, and some have seen fit that he is more useful as a right back. This has also been the case for the German national team, as Joachim Low, Hansi Flick and Julian Nagelsmann have all, at one point or another, used him in both defense and midfield.
At Bayern, Kimmich was often used as a right in the post Pep Guardiola and Philipp Lahm era, which was first led by Carlo Ancelotti, whose tenure at Bayern was not exactly covered in glory, prompting the club to bring in Jupp Heynckes for the remainder of the 2017/18 season. After that, along came Niko Kovac and Benjamin Pavard, who slotted into the right back spot despite having most often played center back for VfB Stuttgart. From that point onward, Kimmich’s influence from midfield helped solidify him in that role, only being used at right back when it was an absolute necessity due to injuries elsewhere in the squad for both Bayern and Germany.
Now, with Nagelsmann at the helm for Germany, he has made a point of saying that he plans on using Kimmich at right back at the European Championships this summer — a return to the role he played for Die Mannshcaft at Euro 2020. For Nagelsmann, there is a surplus of midfielders in the German setup, but the same certainly cannot be said for wide backs. Thus, there is a need for Kimmich to be used in that role and Nagelsmann knows it is a role he can play, whether he prefers it or not.
Despite having made it clear that he does, in fact, prefer playing in midfield, Kimmich recently explained that he really does not mind playing at right back when it is asked of him. “People always have the feeling that I’m someone who refuses [to play] the position. I’ve never said I don’t enjoy it or that I don’t want to play it. I love playing football, I love being on the pitch. For me the position where I play is secondary,” Bayern’s number 6 recently explained (via @iMiaSanMia).
For Kimmich, he has absolutely no problem putting his own preferences aside to be able to do what is best for the team and the collective as requested by the manager, whether it is Nagelsmann or Thomas Tuchel. “I feel more comfortable in midfield, but I can also play at right back. In the end, the coach decides where he needs me, where he sees me - and that’s where I’ll play,” he said.