Joshua Kimmich Emerging As Bright Young Talent For Bayern
The powerhouse clubs, such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich, often have a difficult time developing young talent. It is difficult for a young player to develop and reach his full potential when he has a number of international superstars ahead of him in the pecking order, both starting and on the bench.
Over the last few years, it has become apparent just how hard it is for young players to develop at Bayern Munich in particular. Emre Can and Mitchell Weiser are just two examples of quality young talent that has left the club in search of more opportunity and personal success elsewhere.
You also have Pierre Hojbjerg, Gianluca Gaudino, and Sinan Kurt who also left Bayern Munich in search of more playing time. They were all essentially frozen out of the squad due to the abundance of established, quality options ahead of them.
But there has been one bright young star who has been much more fortunate than the players that came before him. Joshua Kimmich, the former Stuttgart and RasenBallsport Leipzig man, caught the eye of Pep Guardiola earlier this season, earning himself much praise.
After Bayern Munich’s 4-0 win over Stuttgart in November, the trainer made a point to let everyone know just how great Kimmich is, stating that “he deserves to play more often.” This is a very uncommon statement to hear when it comes to young Bayern talent.
Over the course of the first half of the season, Kimmich played just 352 minutes in the Bundesliga. He was passed over for more established stars, like Xabi Alonso, Arturo Vidal and Thiago Alcantara. But in recent weeks, things have begun to change.
There have been a number of injuries that have left Bayern extremely thin in central defense. This led to Guardiola’s decision to field the 21-year-old at the back. Joshua Kimmich has stepped up big time in his four starts. Bayern has conceded just one goal in the process.
In his central-defensive role, Kimmich has been able to employ the same ball-winning skills and solid distribution skills that made him such a well-regarded playing in the midfield position. It definitely helps Kimmich that the team is geared towards containment: opponents are often forced to punt the ball hopefully upfield, and the center-backs serve as retrievers. This helps to relieve much of the pressure that he faces from his small stature. Opponents would usually be able to exploit his small size if it were not for Guardiola’s system.
He is unlikely to be a long-term solution at the back for Bayern Munich. But with the way he is playing, he is proving himself to be someone who will earn more time in the Bayern midfield down the road. It has certainly been nice to see a young player getting the opportunity to thrive with Bayern Munich.