First 45 minutes for FCB
Sat, 29/07/23, 17:08
Minjae Kim 'very pleased' with convincing debut
Barely three minutes into the game, Minjae Kim sparked a dismayed reaction from large sections of the crowd at Tokyo's national stadium. In the Audi Football Summit against FC Bayern, the Kawasaki Frontale fans saw a good chance to score after a defence-splitting pass from their team - but the German record champions' South Korean newcomer simply ran down the pass with all his cleverness and physical robustness.
Just four minutes later, the stadium erupted again when the 1.90m defender headed Bayern's first attempt at goal just over the Japanese team's crossbar from a corner. And just a little later in the 11th minute, Kim again raised the noise level by intercepting a pass from the home side, rushing to the by-line and setting up a good opportunity for Mathys Tel with his cross.
100 percent challenges won on his debut
Those who saw this opening phase could hardly believe they had just witnessed the centre-back's first 11 minutes in the German champions' colours. There were no signs of any settling-in problems for the new boy - and that remained the case for the rest of his 45-minute FCB debut. Kim won 100 percent of his challenges, posted the joint-highest number of interceptions in the first half and, with 70 touches of the ball, still had the third most on the field behind Bayern's midfield axis of Joshua Kimmich (78) and Konrad Laimer (73).
"He had a good game, not only defensively but also going forward," said coach Thomas Tuchel after the match. The head coach had already announced the previous day that Kim would only play one half after his short period of acclimatisation at FC Bayern - but that half convinced the 49-year-old: "I'm very satisfied, it was his first game for us. He trains very hard and is doing very well."
Praise from all sides
A player very qualified to assess the performance of Bayern's new number 3 was equally impressed by the South Korean's display. "Everyone saw the quality he brings. He's very fast, aggressive and strong in one-on-ones," Matthijs de Ligt observed. The Dutchman sees the potential offered by the new FCB defender: "Of course it's always difficult when you haven't played for five or six weeks - it's the same for every player. But he did well. Sometimes the coordination with his teammates didn't quite fit yet, but that's normal."
Kimmich: We'll enjoy having him with us
The next opportunity for Kim and Co. to continue gelling as a unit comes in four days' time when they face six-time Champions League winners Liverpool in the Singapore Trophy (Wednesday, 13:30 CEST). The summer signing's performance against Kawasaki suggest he's ready for this tough task. Or as Joshua Kimmich aptly put it: "I think we'll enjoy having him with us."
Reaction to the match against Kawasaki Frontale: