Scout report: Joshua Kimmich, Bayern Munich's versatile youngster
A scouting report on one of the brightest and most versatile young players in Germany today - Joshua Kimmich.
Germany's problem at right-back – a problem that has plagued them since Philipp Lahm’s retirement – finally seems to be solved in the form of young Joshua Kimmich.
Coach Joachim Low tried several options including Rudiger, Can, Howedes, Ginter and Durm, but none of them seemed to give proper results. Even at the start of UEFA Euro 2016, Low had started the first two matches with Benedikt Howedes at right-back, but there seemed to be a shortage of attack and a lack of depth in defence.
German daily BILD had reported before the start of the tournament that Low had a secret weapon in the form of Kimmich, and things unfolded exactly that way. In the final match of the group stage and in the pre-quarters, Kimmich started at right-back despite having donned the national team jersey only once before the tournament.
He proceeded to make the position his own. Germany’s comfortable decimation of Slovakia is the game where he really stepped up.
Joshua Kimmich joined VfB Stuttgart's youth division at a very young age and came up steadily through the ranks. He joined RB Leipzig in July 2013, but Stuttgart opted to re-sign him. He made his 3.Liga debut that year on 28 September as a substitute against SpVgg Unterhaching in a 2-2 draw.
Kimmich made 53 appearances for Leipzig in two seasons before securing a pre-season move to Bayern Munich on 2nd January 2015 for a fee in the range of 7 million euros. Though he plies his trade as a defensive midfielder, he's been used more in defence at both Bayern Munich and Germany.
Kimmich is one of the biggest talents in German football. As a 21-year-old, his development has been boosted rapidly over the past season under Pep Guardiola, who personally scouted the player before Bayern signed him.
A natural defensive midfielder by trade, Kimmich suffered a host of injuries which forced Guardiola to make him play in central defence – where he surpassed expectations. He has already played at central midfield, attacking midfield, central defence and at both fullback positions.
He boasts an impressive 91.8% pass accuracy, which is outstanding for a player of his age. He loves to hold the ball and is unafraid of moving forward when required. A confident young man, he's good at making key passes.
Not a regular starter at Bayern due to their impressive squad depth, Kimmich has been steady and calm whenever his club has come calling. In the Euros, he has confidently started at right-back, and Germany's gameplay, as a result, has also improved significantly – which shows the immense ability of this young man to adapt.
He can dribble and make timely challenges and is able to win back the ball pretty effectively. His ability to both attack and defend can be seen in his performances against Ireland and Slovakia. Against Ireland, he was more aggressive – linking up with Thomas Muller – while against Slovakia he was more defensive, in order to contain the opposition.
His biggest weakness seems to be his ability to handle aerial duels; so far he has failed miserably in that area. His short height for someone who ends up in central defence at times is also a bit of a negative factor. Barring that though, he has everything to become one of the players to watch out for in the days to come.
Horst Hrubesch has praised Kimmich for his versatility. "Joshua has enormous quality and is versatile in both attacking and defensive roles," he said.
Pep Guardiola on Kimmich: "He's got passion -- he's got absolutely everything,I love this lad.” "Don't ever say he can't play in defense, I just love this kid. He has everything. He played an outstanding game."
The final word
Kimmich has climbed up steadily through the youth ranks of German football, having represented them at U17, U18, U19 and U21 before making the cut for the national team. The youngster has been improving rapidly in terms of confidence and composure, and has already been in several high-pressure situations – that can only be good for a youngster like him as it will help him grow quicker in the days to come.
A humble player, Kimmich hails national team captain Bastian Schweinsteiger as his idol. Perhaps most strikingly, though, he is always eager to learn and keep his chin up. If he continues progressing like this, he'll surely be a starter for both club and country in the days to come.
Contracted at Bayern till 2020, Kimmich is likely to have a bright future – one that football fans will cherish witnessing.