Herzogenaurach (dpa) – After a short bike ride from the area to the training ground, Joshua Kimmich was quick to pass a ball on his foot.
The Bayern Munich professional is looking forward to his return to the Bundesliga after last playing in the 4-0 win over North Macedonia in Skopje in October 2021. The returnee takes his familiar place at the heart of the German game in preparation for the Nations League national football team – loud, full of gestures , ambitious. In short: very present.
Chaos, kids, back?
The 27-year-old has been away from Munich for eight months. This past Corona’s winter, Kimmich became the central figure in a heated national debate about vaccination. And most recently, in March, he missed the first international matches in the World Cup due to the birth of his third child.
But now he is on the cusp of returning to the DFB team on Saturday (8.45pm / RTL) in Bologna against European champions Italy. It will be his 65th international match. Hansi Flick is happy to have Kimmich back as a set point. And the national coach leaves no room for doubt five months before the World Cup in which he and Kimmich plans for Qatar: “I see Joe Kimmich in the six. That will be the case with us. I don’t see him completely – the back situation with us.”
However, Flick does not give his manager a free pass. So does Bayern Munich’s teammate, Leon Goretzka, Kimmich’s logical partner at headquarters. “The middle axis is particularly busy,” Flick stresses repeatedly, referring to young Jamal Musyala (19) and veteran fighter Ilkay Gundogan (31).
In the fights for positions, no one turns himself in. Goretzka revealed that things can get heavier at Adi Dassler when no one is allowed to watch training. “The duel with Joshua was so intense, that things really started,” Goretzka said excitedly. “Those are things that fuse more together. That’s exactly the spirit Hansi wants to see with us.”
Trusts Flick Kimmich
Flick’s attitude toward the footballer and Kimmich as a person has not changed as a result of the Corona issue and the vaccination debate around the long-reluctant professional. In November, Kimmich was one of those players who had to leave the DFB headquarters as unprotected contacts after his teammate Niklas Süle tested positive for the coronavirus.
“The trust relationship between Hansey and Josh is very high,” said key player Thomas Muller about the potential effects of this time on the coach-player relationship. Kimmich remains the head of Flick’s midfield. Captain Manuel Neuer explains why: “Joshua is an important player because he is in a crucial position. In the midfield you have to weigh things, do I make the game fast, do I make it slow. There you try to be strategic, even with a lot of talk.”
“It is important to have players at the center who take responsibility,” the goalkeeper adds. Kimmich is one of the few raucous players in the DFB squad on the pitch, along with Müller, who can never be ignored. And Kimmich is known for his ambition which sometimes seems exaggerated and which sometimes annoys his colleagues.
Dissatisfaction and increased pressure
But Kimmich also knows that a season has not lived up to his ambitions. “If you start with the goal of winning the treble and then withdraw from the second round of the DFB Cup and into the quarter-finals of the Champions League, it will not be as close as you are,” he said of the year with FC. Bavaria. Only the next tournament jumped.
There has also been a lot of talk about Kimmich himself. After contracting Covid, he was out for a long time due to the after-effects. After that, he rarely presented himself at his best in 2022. Experts have questioned his suitability as a Six. “In principle, I always have very high standards for myself. I know it was definitely not my best season, especially in the second half of the season,” Kimmich said.
Kimmich is a member of “Generation 95” about Goretzka, Sully and Serge Gnabry. The next generation of German world champions should be. The truth looks different so far. “Since ‘we’ are in business, we simply haven’t made it,” Kimmich said in the DFB-Journal. The 2018 World Cup spoiled, EM 2021 failed. Kimmich concludes: “The pressure to win something increases with each championship.”
Qatar could indeed be the championship of truth for the leader of the mid-twenties generation. Muller trusts Kimmich a lot: “Josh is a very important building block of the German Football Association.” But especially for high-profile players like Kimmich or with him: “We have to play ourselves up front in every game on the pitch.” Kimmich could start again against Italy, England and Hungary.
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