Kimmich: A childhood dream will come true

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23 out of 33 in the league, nine out of 12 in the Champions League, three out of five in the DFB Cup: Joshua Kimmich was out on the pitch in 70 percent of all competitive fixtures in his first season at FC Bayern. When showed him these figures, the 21-year-old, who joined Bayern from then second division RB Leipzig last summer, grinned: "Better than I'd hoped for." On Saturday Kimmich will hoist the championship shield, the preliminary highlight of a great season.

Interview: Joshua Kimmich Joshua, has it sunk in that you're a German champion now?
"Not really. Many friends and acquaintances have congratulated me on the championship, but it's only when you're holding the shield in your hands that you really feel you're a German champion." Saturday is the day...
"I'm really looking forward to it, a childhood dream will come true! Every child dreams of hoisting the shield and celebrating with the fans one day. I'm very proud, especially in view of my development: three years ago I still played for the U-19s, followed by two years in Leipzig -- and now I'm a German champion. It couldn't have gone any better." The season isn't over yet. You could win the double.
"Of course we want to win the cup! I was at the stadium with my father when Stuttgart and Nürnberg faced off in 2007. I wouldn't have expected then that I'd make it to the final myself a few years later." (grins ) Bayern against Dortmund. It's the ultimate way to bring down the curtain, isn't it?
Kimmich: "
It's a real highlight for all fans in Germany, and even from an international perspective. I can only recommend everyone watch this game." Do you still rue being knocked out by Atlético?
"I still get annoyed when I think about it. We should have made the most of this great chance to advance to the Champions League final. We were better than Atlético, but it ultimately ended 2-2, and that makes it even worse." Let's talk about you. Have you done everything right in terms of joining FC Bayern?
Kimmich:"Definitely! It's just amazing to be playing for a club like this. There's no substitute for the experience I've gained even in my very first year here. Other clubs make a final or have a shot at the title every ten years or so, but you have it every year at this club. You have to go to the limit every day as a player, or others will overtake. Bayern is the perfect club for me." You took a risk when you chose to join FCB last summer...
Kimmich: "I did. Lots of people were asking themselves before the season: why's he going to Bayern? It's a step too far. But with the benefit of hindsight, these same people are saying I've done everything right." In which areas have you improved most since coming to Munich?
Kimmich:"In terms of orientation on the field. The possession drills in training here are frankly brutal. Three men get at you straight away, you have no time to think. Xabi, Philipp and Thiago are outstanding in this respect. They always know exactly where they and their team-mates are. And I'm glad I've picked up the experience at centre-back. I've learned to read the game from a different perspective and become a better footballer." But defensive midfield is still your favourite position?
Kimmich: "Of course, it's where I spent the whole of my youth career, although I have to admit I liked it at centre-back. But I couldn't play there for just any old club. It helps me that we generally enjoy 70 percent of the possession. It would be harder for me at Atlético." (laughs) Euro 2016 or the Olympics? Which would you prefer?
Kimmich: "It's definitely a nice problem to have -- and a very tough question. The Euro is obviously a fantastic event and I certainly wouldn't say no if I got the call from the national coach. But I'm not expecting it, I've never yet been part of the senior squad. I'm thinking more about the Olympics, and it's definitely very appealing. It's an opportunity you probably only get once in a lifetime. The atmosphere at the Olympic Games, and in Rio too. Whatever -- I'm really looking forward to the summer!"


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