He moved to Bayern Munich last summer as a central midfielder, rose to prominence under Pep Guardiola as a centre-back and started four of Germany’s Euro 2016 matches at full-back. Most people would agree that Joshua Kimmich is the definition of versatility.
You could say that Kimmich is following in the footsteps of his club teammate David Alaba. He is only 21, but just like Austria’s main man, he has already shown that he has the footballing intelligence and technical ability to play at the highest level in a number of different positions.
Many promising youngsters have broken into the Germany national team recently, and Kimmich has all the qualities to lead that next generation of German talent and become a star for both club and country.
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Kimmich for Bayern
Last season, Bayern endured a torrid time with injuries and several senior players like Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery were absent for months at a time. Defenders Jerome Boateng, Javi Martinez, Mehdi Benatia and Holger Badstuber also missed large parts of the team’s double-winning campaign.
Consequently, Guardiola was forced to deploy Kimmich at the heart of his defence, and despite being inexperienced and just 5 ft 9 inches tall, the young man flourished. He was rarely overpowered, he showcased his strong reading of the game and his ability to win the ball back through well-timed tackles.
Kimmich went on to make 36 appearances for the German giants, which included starts against sides like Borussia Dortmund and Italian champions Juventus. The new Manchester City boss hailed the 21-year-old as “outstanding” and believes that he will become a world-class centre-back in the future.
Kimmich for Germany
Kimmich became a permanent fixture in Germany’s starting XI at Euro 2016 as soon as he was selected for their final group match against Northern Ireland.
He may have been partially responsible for Antoine Griezmann’s second goal on Thursday, but overall he performed well in his first major tournament for his country and proved that he is one of the rising stars of European football.
Along with Jonas Hector, he was a constant outlet for Joachim Low’s men and was extremely energetic both defensively and going forward. He showed a decent turn of pace, composure when he had the ball in the attacking third and he supplied some dangerous crosses.
He impressed at right-back and may have nailed down a position which has been particularly problematic for the World champions since the international retirement of Philipp Lahm two years ago.
What’s his best position?
Central midfield is Kimmich’s natural position and where he should eventually end up over the years to come. What makes him a top modern-day midfielder is his dynamism and the fact that he possesses the athleticism to run from box to box all day long.
The Bayern youngster, who was inspired by compatriot Bastian Schweinsteiger, has excellent awareness in central areas in addition to his defensive capabilities. Kimmich provided two assists for Bayern last term and technically, he’s neat and tidy in possession and a skilful dribbler.
The future is bright
Kimmich will now look to hold down a regular first-team place at Bayern under Carlo Ancelotti whilst continuing to establish himself at international level.
With classy midfielders like Kimmich and Julian Weigl, along with exciting forwards like Julian Draxler and Leroy Sane, there’s no doubt that the long-term future of German football is in very capable hands.
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