The 2015-16 season brought two big surprises at Bayern Munich: the emergences of youngsters Joshua Kimmich and Kingsley Coman. The Bavarians had struggled to integrate youngsters over the previous few years, with players like Pierre Hojbjerg and Mario Gotze unable to impose themselves. Yet youngsters Kimmich (who only turned 21 in February) and Coman (who is still 19) each made a real impression and proved valuable to the Bavarians over the course of the campaign.
Coman was a Serie A and Ligue 1 champion with Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, respectively, and has long been tipped for greatness. Kimmich, though, was a bigger surprise on a number of levels.
To begin with, the defensive all-rounder came from a rather humble background. Signed from RB Leipzig last summer, he had only played in the 2. Bundesliga and lower prior to the 2015-16 campaign. Among 1995-born German central midfielders, he wasn't the highest rated by any means: He earned just two caps at the under-17 level, where captain Leon Goretzka was the star. Two years later, he started for Germany in the Under-19 European Championship thanks to the Schalke man already having been called up to the senior team. But even as a starter, Kimmich to an extent stood in the shadow of Uwe Seeler's grandson, the under-aged Levin Oztunali.
It wasn't that Kimmich lacked talent; he just stood in the shadow of other players and followed a path much like that of ex-1860 Munich man Julian Weigl. As could be expected in a squad as competitive as that of Bayern's, Kimmich's playing time was limited early in his career at the Munich giants. In the first half of the campaign, he only made three Bundesliga appearances in the first round of more than 25 minutes and just four more than 15 minutes: Often, he was just brought on in garbage time after the match had been won.
Yet Pep Guardiola saw something in Kimmich, and he sang praises of the youngster as early as September. Speaking to reporters (via Stefan Coerts at Goal) after Bayern's Champions League win against Dinamo Zagreb, the trainer commended his up-and-coming midfielder for an "awesome performance," and added: "Joshua has everything a player needs. He is very intelligent, always aggressive toward the ball, strong in the air, has an eye for free space, has superb vision and knows when to charge forward and when to sit back."
Joachim Löw: "Kimmich played a very good season at Bayern, and he can play in midfield or defense, he deserves to be nominated"— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) May 17, 2016
Joachim Löw: "Kimmich played a very good season at Bayern, and he can play in midfield or defense, he deserves to be nominated"
In that same press conference, Guardiola tipped Kimmich to be called up to the senior German national team one day, an achievement the player made as he was nominated to Joachim Low's team last week.
The most surprising thing about Kimmich's season at Bayern was how he became an indispensable defender after the winter break. Bar 17 minutes at right-back in Matchday 17, he had only played in midfield during the fall. Yet in the spring, Kimmich proved hugely influential in central defense, a role which he theoretically should have struggled to fill.
Listed at just 1.76 meters on Transfermarkt and still not yet at full physical maturity for a professional athlete, Kimmich was a very undersized centre-back. Yet he stood his ground even against physical strikers like Stefan Kiessling, and he filled in admirably in defense as towering figures like Jerome Boateng, Javi Martinez, Medhi Benatia and Holger Badstuber recovered from injuries.
Perhaps Kimmich's best game of the season came in the Bundesliga against Borussia Dortmund in March, a goalless draw in a match that Bayern could not afford to lose. After that game, per Jamie Dunn of Goal, Guardiola told reporters: "I love Joshua Kimmich. He has everything to achieve everything he wants."
"He's played against big strikers in the Champions League and against Aubameyang today. Please don't tell me he isn't a centre-back."
Even Guardiola himself doesn't see Kimmich as a centre-back; the youngster has played exclusively in midfield since Boateng and Martinez returned to full fitness. But the fact that a young Kimmich, with no Bundesliga experience prior to his move last summer, has succeeded both in midfield and defense in a competitive Bayern team—especially after the failures of such quality players as Hojbjerg—is truly outstanding. It makes Kimmich the most surprising Bayern Munich story of 2015-16.
[ 此帖被love-roy在2016-05-26 13:18修改 ]