Joshua Kimmich talks title, Tuchel and Leipzig – Bundesliga

Joshua Kimmich’s experience and classy all-round play have been vital in Bayern Munich’s push for an 11th consecutive Bundesliga title in 2022/23. sat down with the Bayern and Germany midfielder to hear his thoughts on the pressure at the club, Saturday’s opponents RB Leipzig and new coach Thomas Tuchel… Are Bayern going to win the title?
Joshua Kimmich: “I think so. We have it in our own hands. We know that we need two wins. There are still two matches, so we also know that we have to win every game. We have the quality to do it. Nearly everybody is fit now. Of course, we have some long-term injuries, but the team is strong and tough enough to win the games.” How much pressure has there been on Bayern to win the title this season?
Kimmich: “There is always pressure on us to win the Bundesliga title, because it’s always our biggest goal to win it. Of course, we had a tough season with a lot of ups and downs. We had a really good first half of the season and were in every competition. In the end we didn’t have enough in the Champions League or DFB Cup. There is still one title left to win though. We have to do everything to win it.” You’ve won a lot of titles already, how important are they for you?
Kimmich: “It’s not the most important thing to win every title, but it’s the biggest goal to win every title. It is not always that easy to win everything. You have to have a run with your team and get in the right mood. When you win something, you’re a bit addicted though, and you want to do it again.”
Watch: The best of Bayern Munich in 2022/23 There has been an extremely tight title race this season. Do you prefer that or winning the title early?
Kimmich: “It’s hard to say, but at the end the most important thing is that we win the title. Of course, there’s more in it for the other teams when it is sealed as late as possible. We were very happy in previous years to seal it a bit earlier. This year we have to fight till the end – and we will fight till the end!” You are playing against your former club, Leipzig, on Saturday, Is that a special encounter for you?
Kimmich: “Yes, it’s special to play against a former club. I played there in the third and second division, and I think there are only two players there I played with, Emil Forsberg and Yussuf [Poulsen]. They have developed amazingly since to play consistently in the Champions League, reach the semi-finals and compete for big trophies. Their pressing, physicality and high intensity make them tough opponents, and we will have to find a way to beat them.” What did you learn from playing for Leipzig as a youngster?
Kimmich: “Only positive things. For me, it was an amazing and really important step to go there. I used to be a youth player at Stuttgart. We were just playing with the ball, but in Leipzig it was more tactical, more off-the-ball work, more pressing, fast and direct play. Even today, it helps me to have this mindset of focusing on off-the-ball play, of playing aggressively.” You definitely work hard off the ball, but also seem to put a lot into motivating your teammates as captain. Is that right?
Kimmich: “Yes. I’m not a player like Leroy [Sane] who can take the ball and dribble around and score a lot of goals. I always knew that I need a team to win games, because we are in a team sport. So, I always try to give the team motivation, and help us to have a really good team spirit. The most important thing though is to lead with good performances. After you do that, you can also help your teammates.” You’re often portrayed as an ‘emotional leader’. How would you describe your leadership style?
Kimmich: “Good question. I try to combine both, to be sometimes emotional on the pitch but also try to speak with my teammates. So, I think it’s a bit of a mix of both. Emotions are not always positive. There are positive emotions and negative emotions. But when you find the right emotions, I think you can push your teammates and yourself as well.”
Watch: Joshua Kimmich – pass master Talking of leaders, how is Thomas Tuchel as a coach?
Kimmich: “He has a clear idea of football, of his system, both on the ball and off the ball. At the beginning, he changed the system a bit. He put us in our natural positions. He calmed us down a bit. You can see that he’s really experienced, that he was at big clubs before. He knows how to speak with us, how to treat us. Of course, it was a really difficult situation when he became the head coach, but I think in the future we will have a really good team, and we will play really good football.” The Bundesliga turns 60 in August. What are your memories of the Bundesliga as a child?
Kimmich: “I was always a fan of Stuttgart because they were my nearest Bundesliga club. I remember going with my dad and my mum to a Bundesliga match as a child, Freiburg against Dortmund. My favourite player was Tomas Rosicky and my dad bought a shirt for me after the game with his name on. That was really exciting for me. The second thing was Stuttgart’s title in 2007. I joined Stuttgart straight after that, and it was amazing to be at the German champions.” What’s been the most emotional moment of your Bundesliga career as a player?
Kimmich: “I think it was my first game. One minute against Augsburg, I think [for Bayern in September 2015]. I just came on to waste some time. It was such a great memory though, because my big dream came true in this match. I think that’s the greatest memory I have.”
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