There are places that reporters rarely go. But Raphael Honigstein and Thom Harris just went there in their analysis of Bild’s coverage of Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich. They have inferred in their recent reporting on Kimmich’s contract situation that a number of Bild journalists have been delivering unfairly critical comments about the player due to his fractured relationship with them.
While some critique and discussion of any player’s performance is always part of the sporting landscape, Honigstein and Thom suggest that Bild’s negative comments are not based on legitimate analysis but rather on Kimmich’s refusal to give access to Bild’s talking heads.
The Athletic writers suggest that the conflict began in October of 2021 when Bild, without Kimmich’s consent revealed his personal health information about his approach to the COVID 19 vaccine and his status in that regard. They report that Kimmich’s anger over that breach of trust was such that he stopped making himself available to Bild journalists beyond mandatory press appearances.
Thom and Honigstein suggest that since that time Bild’s coverage of Kimmich has gone profoundly negative and disrespectful in tone.
Rather than just levelling the accusation the authors then go on to do the spadework to demonstrate that the criticisms of Kimmich’s play have been “rather overblown.” They present a panoply of data from SmarterScout and Opta to show that Kimmich’s performance has not fallen much, if at all, from the times when everyone was praising Kimmich as the next big thing.
There is even some question as to whether or not the Kimmich-Tuchel “conflict” has been exaggerated by the Bild journalists. The quote from Tuchel that eventually led to Josh saying he was quite capable of fulfilling all of the duties of a No. 6 reads as follows:
“Joshua is our strategist who likes to do everything and can do everything,” Tuchel said on the eve of the new season. “He’s very good in assists and plays many penultimate passes.” But the team, Tuchel added, need “a real defensive midfielder, who thinks very defensively, takes care that nothing happens at the back and who is more concerned with defence than attacking the opposition box.”
While people focus on Tuchel’s desire for a defensive midfielder, they blithely ignore him referring to Kimmich’s strategic abilities and ability to “do everything.”
Honigstein and Thom suggest that Tuchel’s desire to buy a defensive specialist was to free up Kimmich from some of his defensive responsibilities to allow him to focus more on producing offensive results. There interpretation makes it look like good news for Kimmich, and perhaps not so good news for Goretzka.
We already knew that much of what comes out of Bild can be safely ignored and should not be consumed without industrial doses of salt, but now we see that publication seems willing to let its “journalists” attack their subjects in bad faith.
And to be honest, that is not so hard to believe considering that they still employ the guy who pulled this low class stunt: