Created on 17-12-2015 at 13:00 PM
Turn the clocks back a year, and Joshua Kimmich is in a different kind of world. In mid-December 2014 he was brought on as a 58th-minute sub for second division Leipzig in a goalless draw away to Aalen in front of a 5,015 crowd. Almost exactly 12 months later, and the 20-year-old’s team has just gone through to the DFB Cup last eight. It’s FC Bayern of course, who beat Darmstadt in the Round of 16 in front of a 72,500 crowd at the Allianz Arena.
Speaking exclusively to fcbayern.de, Kimmich revealed: “It's not as if I necessarily expected it.” He has made nine appearances in the Bundesliga, five in the Champions League, and two in the DFB Cup. “I'm pleasantly surprised. But I work hard in training every day to earn the chance to play.”
Kimmich has made a lasting impression with a mixture of humility, confidence and hard work. He covered the full 90 minutes in the last three games. As far as Kimmich is concerned, the winter break need not come so soon. “I just told Thomas (Müller): I wouldn't mind going on,” the youngster reported, his eyes shining.
'A different kind of football'
115 touches of the ball, 96 passes with an accuracy of 92 percent: only Xabi Alonso topped those stats against Darmstadt. “You can learn a lot from him every day: his experience, how he copes with difficult situations and solves them, or how he reacts after he’s played a bad pass,” the Germany U-21 international said about the Spaniard, who is something of an idol for him. “I try to emulate that on the pitch.”
In his first six months in Munich Kimmich has tried to learn as much as possible, and not only from Alonso. “It was a completely different style of play in Leipzig. Their game wasn’t possession-based,” reported the 20-year-old, “here at Bayern you learn an incredible amount about using the ball. Close gaps, play together, hold on to the ball and create chances. It's a different kind of football.”
Christmas at home
Pep Guardiola is obviously impressed by the youngster. “He's almost like a son,” the FCB head coach said recently. The Catalan has let his protégée gain experience in different positions: defensive and central midfielder, right winger or, as against Darmstadt, at right-back. He had only played as a right-back in the Paulaner Cup a few weeks ago and at times in his youth, Kimmich revealed. “But the interpretation is a little different here. The right-back is almost a midfielder. So that wasn't a problem.”
There is a good chance that Kimmich will also play in the last match of the year in Hannover on Saturday, but even he is looking forward to Christmas and the holiday period: “First I’m going home to my parents. Then I’ll go on vacation with some buddies and my girlfriend,” Kimmich said, and concluded: “The move to Munich was exactly the right thing.”