Joshua Kimmich’s remarkable rise to success at Bayern Munich in the past two years has taken Germany by surprise. He was plying his trade in the German Third Division in 2014 and is now a regular figure for Bayern Munich and Germany in 2017.
Joshua Kimmich showed promise from an early age when VfB Stuttgart plucked him from local side VfB Bosingen in 2007. Stuttgart had a good track record for producing German internationals with Sami Khedira, Mario Gomez and Timo Werner starting their careers at Mercedes-Benz Arena.
RB Leipzig signed him on a two-year loan deal in the summer of 2013 and Kimmich played a key role in guiding them into the 2. Bundesliga. His performances impressed Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola, who visited Leipzig to scout the promising German midfielder in December 2014.
Guardiola lured him to the Allianz Arena in January 2015, although Kimmich remained at the Red Bull Arena until the end of the 2014/15 season. Kimmich’s talent was also being recognised at international level, as he clinched the 2014 Under-21 European Championship.
He’d committed his future to Bayern Munich and his current contract is set to expire in June 2020. Kimmich played as a defensive midfielder for both VfB Stuttgart and RB Leipzig but showcased his versatility in his debut campaign at the Allianz Arena.
Bayern Munich won the domestic double (German Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal Cup) and Kimmich made 39 appearances in all competitions, featuring from the bench on 13 occasions.
Guardiola had deployed him at right-back, central defence and central defensive midfield in the 2015/16 season. Germany manager Joachim Low selected Kimmich for their Euro 2016 squad and he made his senior international debut in a pre-tournament friendly against Slovakia in May 2016.
Low left him out of their two opening Euro 2016 group stage fixtures but surprisingly chose him to start at right-back in their final group match against Northern Ireland. Kimmich went onto start every match from this point onwards, as Germany reached the semi-finals in France.
A change in personnel in the dugout made little difference for Kimmich, who continued to shine by scoring nine goals in 47 appearances in all competitions last season. He again helped Bayern to the German Bundesliga title, playing in a variety of positions, following the soon retiring Philipp Lahm reverting to his familiar right-back role.
Kimmich returned to Munich with renewed confidence at the start of the 2017/18 season. He was a key figure in Germany’s 2017 Confederations Cup triumph and registered two assists in Russia.
The Bavarians rocky start to the current season resulted in the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti. Kimmich was the brightest spark in Ancelotti’s final dark chapter and received the club’s Player of the Month award in September.
Legendary manager Jupp Heynckes, who delivered the clubs only European treble, returned for his fourth stint at the helm. Kimmich has been educated by four footballing gods (Low, Guardiola, Ancelotti and Heynckes) over the past two years.
He’s enjoyed a smooth mountain to success and it seems he’ll continue to rise and become one of the greatest players in German history. Can he follow in the footsteps of Philipp Lahm and become a World Cup champion, with football betting sites narrowly backing them as favourites to defend their crown in Russia? Is it too early to make such a statement or is Kimmich really just that great?
Strengths & Weaknesses
It’s truly delightful to watch Joshua Kimmich. He’s way ahead of his years and possesses a passing range comparable with German compatriots Bastian Schweinsteiger and Michael Ballack.
Bayern Munich and Germany’s current style of play compliments Kimmich’s defensive and offensive abilities. Guardiola replicated his ‘tika-taka’ style and merged this with a more physically domineering approach to suit the German Bundesliga.
Germany noticed the success Guardiola had brought to the Allianz Arena and adopted a similar philosophy. Therefore, the movement and impetus on attacking space has increased and contributed highly to their 2014 World Cup triumph.
Kimmich has a tendency of switching play by utilizing his mind blowing technical qualities. Germany’s attack is like a gold mine for an assistive soul like Kimmich, who can pick a pass with his great anticipation and game intelligence.
He’s quick and likes to make overlapping runs, in order to create a crossing opportunity on the right hand side. His days as a defensive midfielder and a right-back has contributed to transforming him into an attacking full-back.
Many compare Kimmich to Philipp Lahm and although he’s ultimately his long-term replacement for both club and country, he’s also a very different player to the Bayern and German legend.
Lahm was predominantly more defensive, whereas Kimmich possesses the defensive brilliance of Lahm and the driving attacking mentality as fellow Bayern and German teammate Thomas Muller.
He’s a king in both departments and has great balance. He can anticipate the attacking moves of his opponents by making instinctive interceptions and challenges. Overall, he is in perfect stead to emulate the great Philipp Lahm.