Kimmich : I want to go my own way
He's an ever-present at FC Bayern: Joshua Kimmich has played in all 15 competitive matches this term, including 13 over the full distance. And the 22-year-old, who took over from Philipp Lahm at right back at the start of the season, is now an established first choice for Germany. Kimmich is definitely on a good run.
Bayern Magazine caught up with Kimmich for a full interview ahead of the two matches against his former club RB Leipzig. The Swabian talks about progress this season, his personal situation as successor to Philipp Lahm and the need for right backs to be strong in attack. He also talks about his hometown, his two years at Leipzig and his early days in Munich when he shared a flat with his sister.
Interview with Joshua Kimmich:
Joshua, how disappointed were you last week after the win against Celtic? It was the first time this season you didn't play the full game...
Kimmich: "It's okay if I don't play for ten minutes. (He smiles) We were 3-0 up. And in the second half I felt my legs tightening a bit. Playing every three days is a new rhythm for me. Plus the internationals. There have been a lot of games and a lot of time on the pitch recently."
You got a standing ovation when you went off. Do you hear that when you're on the pitch?
Kimmich: "Yes you do. It feels great when you're winning 3-0 and the crowd applauds you when you go off. You feel the fans were happy today."
The Bayer fans voted you as player of the month for September and, against Celtic, UEFA named you man of the match. What does that mean to you?
Kimmich: "Of course, it's great to get that appreciation from outside the club. It shows you can help the team with a good performance, perhaps including a goal or an assist. At the same time it's an incentive to keep going and maintain performance levels."
After Philipp Lahm announced his retirement you were quickly seen as his successor. How do you deal with the expectation levels associated with that?
Kimmich: "I know that situation from the national team. So I knew that comparisons would keep on coming. On the one hand, I'm happy about it but on the other it was clear to me from the start that I can't fully replace Philipp. Philipp was the captain, has countless great performances under his belt and he always performed. I'm 22-years old and I can learn a lot from him. But I'd like to go my own way."
Is there another right back other than Philipp Lahm who you can learn from?
Kimmich: "There are a few in my generation. For example, Dani Alves who I think has had a great influence on how right backs play. With his aggression against the ball, his attacking runs and his ability in front of goal. I also think Dani Carvajal from Real Madrid is really good."
You've played in a lot of different positions in your career to date: right back, holding midfielder, right midfield, central defender... Where do you see yourself playing in the future?
Kimmich: "If I'd been asked the question four years ago when I was at Leipzig then I would have said: definitely holding midfielder. I'd only just got to Bayern when I played us central defender and a year later I was right back for the national side. I think it's an essential strength of mine being able to play in different positions. But of course, at some time I'd like to have the certainty that says this position belongs to Kimmich."
When you moved to Munich from Leipzig you did a flat share with your sister. Is that still going?
Kimmich: "No, we ended the flat share. My sister is doing combined studies and isn't in Munich all the time so now she's got her own small flat. But it was exactly the right decision for us both at the start. We knew that if somebody is home who you know and trust then we'd have a familiar point of contact for both of us in the new city. That was very important for both of us."
What was the division of labour?
Kimmich: "I'd say it was traditional (he laughs). Doing the laundry isn't my specialty and in the early days I often used to take my clothes to my mum but now my girlfriend takes care of it. I do like to use the vacuum cleaner and 'm keen on cleanliness. I'm a bit picky about that. But that's the way I was brought up first by my parents and later in the accommodation at VfB Stuttgart where we always had to tidy our own rooms."
You shared a flat with Yussuf Poulsen in Leipzig. Are you still in contact?
Kimmich: "Yes, of course. We lived together for two years so you definitely develop a certain relationship. I'm glad we'll meet up again in a couple of days time – even though we'll have to forget our friendship during the game."
Leipzig laid down a marker with the win at Dortmund. Do you think RB are your main rivals for the title?
Kimmich: "Dortmund are ahead of us at the moment. So BVB are again a big rival. With RB, I think the Champions League match against Porto was more impressive than the victory at Dortmund. Demme, Werner and Poulsen were all sidelined against Porto and Emil Forsberg has never played so many matches. That makes you realise what great quality there is in their squad – even if I don't want to start talking about our own quality."
You regularly go to watch your home town club of VfB Bösingen. Is it an exception being on the touchline?
Kimmich: "No, not at all. That's my hometown. I usually drive to my parents on Sundays and there is always a game where a couple of my mates are playing. Bösingen has three senior teams and they're split between the three: One or two play with the first team in the state league, most of them in the reserves and then a couple in the third team. It's just great fun for me to watch my friends and I try to make sure I get there as often as I can."
Are there ever any tips from the Bayern star and Germany international?
Kimmich: "No, no, they hear me shout out my opinion from the touchline (he laughs). And when it's going well I don't have to say anything as they're busy praising themselves. One of my friends is the second team captain and he's scored a lot recently. Then he said to me: 'Ten goals in ten games - you could have a couple of those if you want!' (He laughs). You have to take it if you're prepared to give it out."
The full interview with Joshua Kimmich is in the current Bayern Magazine for the home game against RB Leipzig (German language only)