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Two generations

Alonso, Kimmich and the future

'Who will take your position at Bayern in the future?' Xabi Alonso was pondering on this question as Joshua Kimmich entered the room. What was a coincidence might actually happen in the not too distant future. "My long-term goal is to get match practice as a defensive midfielder," the 21-year-old said after taking over from Alonso at the press talk. However, Kimmich knows he has to be patient.

At the age of 35 Xabi Alonso is anything but tired. "My body is okay. My head is okay. I'm feeling good at the moment," the world champion, European champion and Champions League winner said after three days in Qatar. The old hand is not entertaining the idea of finishing his career even though his contract will expire this summer. "We've got time. There's no deadline. It depends on how I feel."

'A great future'

Kimmich therefore has at least half a year to observe Alonso out on the pitch, "the only advantage if you're on the bench," according to the 21-year-old, who learns from the legend. "His behaviour after mistakes. If he's played a bad pass he's able to forget it straightaway and then play a deadly ball," stressed Kimmich, admiring Alonso's "outstanding qualitites, especially in passing. His diagonal passes, his timing, his superb feel for the game."

Kimmich, too, has turned in impressive displays over the last 18 months. He has become a regular in the Germany team, at right back. "Josh is fantastic. He plays very well in any position, which is a great quality to have. He'll surely have a great future at this club for many, many years," declared Alonso.

'I could only surprise people'

"It's nice to hear that of course," added Kimmich. "In my first season nobody expected anything from me. I'd joined from the second division, it was an advantage that I could only surprise people. Now I've shown something and have to assert it."

The versatile right-footer does not care so much about his position right now. "I like playing in every position. But my long-term goal is to establish myself in one particular position." We'll see what doors open up for him on the pitch in the future.