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‘He’s doing a great job’

Joshua Kimmich, man of many talents

A recognised, in-form striker would be delighted with a return of four goals in his last three matches, but this in fact is the current record of an FCB player not previously noted as a goal-getter, namely Joshua Kimmich. “People always said to me that as soon as I get the first one, the rest will follow,” reflected the starlet after his second-half brace in the Reds’ clear-cut 5-0 victory over FC Rostov.

UEFA duly named Kimmich Man of the Match. His four shots at goal was the second-highest total on the night, and he topped the ranking for shot assists with three and goals with two, fully justifying Carlo Ancelotti’s decision to hand the youngster a start. “He played very well,” enthused the Bayern boss, “Joshua can fill every position, he’s very focused and he’s in great shape. It’s good for the whole team.”

“We knew about his qualities in defence and in our build-up play,” commented Manuel Neuer. “Now he’s made his mark in attack. It’s fantastic for us.” Kimmich himself was delighted at finding the net in front of his home crowd after scoring away goals against Norway for Germany in Oslo and in Gelsenkirchen against Schalke: “Scoring in front of the home end was a great experience,” he confirmed. Kimmich’s second was even a header, the first such goal of his pro career.

Keen to help the team

“Apart from World Cup qualifying, Joshua has scored more goals than me in every competition, so that makes him my chief rival,” grinned birthday boy Thomas Müller after the final whistle. “I’ll have to stay hot on his heels until Saturday and make sure he keeps his feet on the ground. If we manage that, he’s continue to play an important role for us in our forthcoming matches.” Naturally, Müller has no concerns, “because Joshua’s a good lad.”

Thomas is of course correct, because Joshua was his usual modest self after the game. “When I play I try to put myself forward. I want the ball, I want to play my part and help the team,” said the 21-year-old. “And it’s nice to get goals too,” he acknowledged, “but scoring isn’t everything. Other things have to fall into place if you’re to be satisfied.” Neuer for one is impressed: “He’s doing a great job,” the World’s Best Goalkeeper declared.