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Fast learner

Kimmich: The team make it easy for me

Joshua Kimmich will celebrate his 21st birthday on Monday, but his coach has already presented him with an early gift: a new position. In Saturday's top clash against Bayer Leverkusen the midfielder-by-trade deputised in central defence for the second time in a row. Bayern kept a clean sheet in both matches, and Kimmich earned full marks both times. “Kimmich turned in an outstanding display. Kießling and Chicharito didn't have any chances,” commented an appreciative Pep Guardiola, “a huge compliment!”

Kimmich's experience has thus expanded by one position. He has played as a defensive and central midfielder since joining Bayern last summer. He has also deputised as right winger and right-back. With Jérôme Boateng, Javi Martínez and Mehdi Benatia currently on the sidelines he has now taken a crash course in central defence.

Badstuber the pillar

The FCB youngster was “certainly a bit surprised” when Pep Guardiola let him in on his latest idea, as Kimmich told But the Germany U-21 international is keen to seize every opportunity he can get. “The main thing is to play, no matter the position,” he said after his convincing displays as a centre-back. “The team make it easy for me, you're always in a good position and play at a high level with so many world-class players on the pitch.”

His partner Holger Badstuber is a great help to the newly-minted centre-back. “He often gives loud orders, both in training and in matches. He tells me what’s caught his eye and that helps of course,” commented Kimmich, who at 1.76 m tall knows he is not ideally suited for the position, at least in conventional physical terms. “But Holger is tall enough to make up for it,” Kimmich added with a grin.