It’s about time VFB Stuttgart get robbed off the prized assets they have in their ranks, isn’t it? The club from the South West of Germany isn’t what it what it once used to be. It somehow laid its hands on the Bundesliga title back in 2007, in a season where Bayern Munich could finish only 6th, but since then, it’s been story of slipping as significantly as Steven Gerrard. Not during a game against Chelsea at a jam packed Anfield stadium, but to the bowels of the German first division. And that time is fast approaching when players such as Timo Werner, Filip Kostic and Alexandru Maxim leave the club for greener pastures, much like their former midfield starlet Joshua Kimmich, who has moved to Bayern Munich already and has turned a lot of heads at Bavaria. Here, we run the rule over the 20 year old.
Born in Rottweil, a town in South West of the German nation, Kimmich was admitted to the Stuttgart youth academy when he was 12, with the Die Roten being the most prominent club in the area. Kimmich is said to always have been a step ahead of his team mates at youth levels. He had begun featuring for the Stuttgart Under 17’s when he was just 15 and had appeared for the Under 19 team ,when he was just 17. When he was 17, Kimmich joined RB Leipzig in 2013. Leipzig were, during that period plying their trade in the 3rd division of German football and Stuttgart succeeded in being granted an option to re-buy the teenager.
After appearing for Leipzig 55 times and helping them gain promotion to the second division, the player secured a move back to Stuttgart, who activated a buy back clause and sold him for a fee in the region of 7 million euros in the same window to Bavarian giants Bayern Munich.
Since then, this 20 year old has begun to make a good amount of waves for Pep Guardiola’s side. He’s appeared 7 times and has looked like a player who’s in a kind of a mould that Pep Guardiola likes.
His driving and impressive performances in the Under 21 Euros provided Germany with a platform to reach the semi finals of the tournament. And he was one of their leading performers in the whole tournament.
Under 21 coach Horst Hrubesch was quoted as saying:
Joshua has enormous quality and is versatile in both attacking and defensive roles. And he is still right in the middle of his development. I think he has a great career ahead of him.
Kimmich has been a recipient of the Fritz Walter prize twice in his career. When 18, he won the silver medal and a year later, was adjudged the bronze winner.
In terms of playing style, Kimmich is just 5 feet and 7 inches tall, but never backs away from heading into fifty fifty challenges to win them His agility and ability to read the game and snuff of danger is something that makes him adequately defensive minded.
He’s a box to box midfielder, who is more into completing his defensive duties, much someone like Johannes Geis or Leon Goretzka, but is effective when it comes to the attacking department too. The 20 year old is a snappy passer, with very good vision for someone as young as him. He knows very well how to dictate possession and distribute passes in the middle third, that is a quality that Pep Guardiola desires in his players. In 7 appearances, out of which 5 have come from the bench, Kimmich has recorded a passing accuracy of 93 percent, which is impressive indeed.
He’s a player who likes to spray balls to wide areas, sitting in deeper midfield regions. He’s completed 1.9 long passes in the Bundesliga this season, and 3 in the Champions League.
Another quality that this 20 year old possesses is composure and calmness. It’s almost contagious really. He dictates possession with a certain swagger, that Bayern Munich central midfield players actually have. Even he’s surrounded by 2 or 3 players, who are attempting to win the ball back from him, Kimmich has a tendency to play the ball out of danger with immense composure and coolness.
His physical attributes aren’t too scary or something which stands out and he has to bulk himself up, but still Kimmich is someone who is good in reading games and using his body to win balls back in the midfield to circulate it forward.
Another quality that impresses me is his determination and tenacity. His immense amount of desire to win the ball back and win games for his team. He’s got his own way of winning loose balls and circulating it forward quickly and smartly, reminding one of a younger and smaller Ilkay Gundogan.
But Kimmich himself desires to replicate Bastian Schweinsteiger, who recently left Bayern for Manchester United. He once said:
Of course Bastian Schweinsteiger is a huge role model for me, but from next season, we’re team-mates and — in a certain way — rivals. I hope that I will get some playing time, which is finally down to me and my performances.
Kimmich excels when playing in a two man midfield, alongside a holding midfield player in a 4-2-3-1 shape, which the Leipzig side adhered to, deploying Sami Khedira’s brother Rani Khedira alongside him effectively.
Pep Guardiola hailed the former Stuttgart youngster’s performance recently against his former and referred to him as “almost a son”:
Joshua was simply unbelievable. He deserves to play more often.
After wining Fritz Walter prize twice, which is awarded to the top 3 German youngsters, Bayern will surely provide Joshua with the perfect foundation to earn a reputation for himself. Guardiola has always favoured players who circulate the ball forward quickly and make use of it to create spaces for players around him, with the help of crisp passing attributes. And Joshua is exactly that kind of a player.
As Guardiola has already stressed upon the fact that he deserves more playing time, the 20 year old will get it as the season wears on. But, there’s hardly no speck of doubt that Joshua Kimmich has something special and is on the cusp of being a renowned player already.