One of the most underrated players on display today in football is the very versatile German: Joshua Walter Kimmich. He has been adding people to the list of his admirers ever since he burst into the scenes, especially after he joined Bayern Munich in July 2015 for a fee of €8m. Although of relatively short stature, he packs a punch or punches above his weight. His football is very captivating, with a knack for creating something out of nothing. It makes him an indispensable player for the club or the country. Unsurprisingly, he was Germany’s Player of the Year 2021 – so the long and the short is that he can play.
Makings of Kimmich
Kimmich flourished under Pep Guardiola. He said something along the lines of – he made me see spaces that I did not know existed. And since then, the German has only upped his game. He started as a defender but has since shown the potential of playing further on the pitch. It saw him promoted to defensive mid in 2018 for the national side. He plays the ball off the ground very often as he has a penchant for playing the long ball. His passing is sweet, to say the least – be it short or quick passes, long passes, hockey passes, or the long balls. Owing to his superior passing skills and accuracy, he often takes set-pieces or is at least there and thereabouts. Oftentimes he surprises the opponents with long shots. As someone who has regular defending responsibilities, his tackling skills are not flattering. But being the perfectionist he is, it is something he will improve. That said, he is one of the best in business considering recoveries, chances created, and ball progression.
Kimmich made his international debut in 2016 and has been a regular feature since, provided he is fit for playing. Although he has only won the Confederations Cup with the national side, he has won almost everything a German club can win since he joined Bayern. Mr. Versatile has won 6 Bundesliga titles in succession. On top of that, he has bagged 3 German Cups, 1 FIFA Club World Cup, 1 UEFA Super Cup. The Champions League title win in the 19/20 season probably takes the cake – the one they won handsomely by winning all of their matches, a feat that no other side has managed to date. And he was pretty crucial in that success.
Kimmich not only brings his skills and inputs, but also his leadership. He is in the ears of his teammates to motivate them or even reprimand them when needed. He is very passionate and unrelenting when it comes to football and demands the same from his teammates, which eventually helps his team win more games.
Agreed that his assists and goals tally is not exactly sparkling, but football is not just about goals and assists. As Jude Bellingham correctly pointed out that football is not just about stats. Again, it’s the goal(s) that win you matches. But a team needs to do plenty of work for a team to be in the position to score. And this is where Kimmich is good – working like a horse to find an opening or create one. He is bloody good at what he does – the exploits are there for everybody to see.
Just getting Started
Only 26, he has years of football ahead of him, and it’s safe to say that he is yet to reach the peak. Hopefully, we get to see the best of him for the maximum number of years. Players like him need to get more recognition so that the younger generations are inspired to take up the sport in varying roles. They are not as expansive as a Messi, Ronaldo, or a Lewandowski, but even they require a Busquets or a Pepe or a Kroos or a Kimmich to win games and trophies, or just to play proficiently.
For a player to be named National player of the year for Germany, bespeak the quality of Kimmich. And yet he goes missing in the top 30 nominees for the Ballon d’Or. That does not make much sense, if at all. And it is not just that. Many frequently overlook him in the conversations that he deserves to be in. And hence the opening statement. World football is better when quality players are recognized and revered irrespective of the positions they play in. Kimmich is comfortably one of them.