After a magnificent first season with Bayern Munich, Joshua Kimmich is currently part of Germany’s extended Euro 2016 squad. Just as Julian Weigl and Julian Brandt, he made his debut appearance for the German national team on Sunday in the match vs. Slovakia. All three of them must be very excited and nervous about Joachim Löw’s final decision on Tuesday, in which the squad will be reduced by four players before the DFB team leaves to France to compete for the Euro. Kimmich has to be one of the last 23 players if the national team wants to be successful, says our author Justin.
Before the season, there were only a few experts who might have thought that this young guy would be able to play such an incredible debut season in Munich. Even at the early stages, when the majority of Bayern’s defense still was available, Kimmich took advantage of his chances in all competitions. In the first half of the season, he showed exceptional qualities that only a few players are able to bring to the table at such a young age.
In February, Justin already wrote an analysis on his basic skills. All in all, it can be said that he has a precise and secure passing play, very intelligent positioning, generally strong in-game intelligence and a high resistance under pressure, paired with a brilliant ball winning ability on the ground.
He not only is able to perform on a high level as a central midfielder (his main position) but is also a great alternative as a right-back, half-back and centre-back as well. The last two options might come as a bit of a surprise if you consider the fact that his height lies at only 176 cm. Kimmich himself often mentions that his teammates as well as Bayern’s style of play (focus on possession) made it easy for him to adapt to his new role.
However, his performances especially in the Bundesliga were exceptional. He managed to complete 92,5% of his passes despite not always choosing the safest options. In the second half of the season, when players like Martinez and Boateng were missing, he even took over Bayern Munich build-up play and did a great job by adding a lot of verticality to his passing game. His success rate of 60,5% in one-on-one duels on the ground is more than respectable as well. With Kimmich as a centre-back, Bayern did not concede a single goal against the Bundesliga runner-ups, Leverkusen and Dortmund. Even in the DFB-Pokal final, Borussia Dortmund’s star players Aubameyang, Reus and Mkhitaryan were not able to score during the entire 120 minutes.
Regarding his role as a full-back: He played this position for example vs. Darmstadt in the DFB-Pokal and vs. Hertha BSC in the second leg of the Bundesliga season.
To sum it up, you may say that the 21-year-old newcomer made an impact in all competitions.
Kimmich for the Euros!
The right-back position in the German national team, which is covered poorly after Philipp Lahm’s retirement, might be Kimmich’s biggest chance to shine at the Euro. Lately Emre Can, Sebastian Rudy and Antonio Rüdiger were the only candidates available for that spot.
All of them three were not able to play convincingly enough so that Joshua Kimmich was tested as a right-back during the week, when Germany’s A-Team played a preparation match vs. their own U20.
Another factor in Kimmich’s favour might be that Joachim Löw generally tries to adapt his own ideas, regarding his playing style, to those of the leading clubs in Germany. Between 2010 and 2012 lots of elements from Jürgen Klopp’s league-winning side could be spotted in the DFB team. After the arrival of Pep Guardiola, those were enhanced by the Catalan’s ideas.
Kimmich is capable of making smart decisions even under pressure without producing too many mistakes. Under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, he was taught to play different positions, which caused his in-game intelligence to improve a lot as well. As a right-back, he might be a useful addition to the German national team due to the fact that there are simply no impressive options available at the moment. In addition to that, Löw mentioned that flexibility was a big factor when he selected his preliminary squad. For him, Kimmich might be the perfect mixture regarding quality and variability. Almost all of his performances, whether in the Bundesliga, the DFB-Pokal or the Champions League, have been on a high level except for those two unlucky mistakes vs. Juventus.
If you consider all those facts, there is no denying that Joachim Löw has to take Kimmich with him to France.