Bayern Munich and Germany ace Joshua Kimmich: "I'm not a Philipp Lahm clone"
The inexorable rise of Bayern Munich sensation Joshua Kimmich continued apace in Germany’s 6-0 FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifying rout of Norway on Monday.
Starting and finishing a senior international for the 21st time in a row, the 22-year-old equalled the great Franz Beckenbauer’s record for consecutive full matches played for Die Mannschaft (1973-75). Only Berti Vogts has strung together a longer run (34, 1968-71).
“It was a fantastic evening and a brilliant atmosphere,” Kimmich enthused. “It was a fitting performance.”
Watch: Kimmich up close
Kimmich, as has become the norm, was instrumental. A constant thorn in the side of Norway left-back Haitam Aleesami, the former Stuttgart and RB Leipzig starlet chipped in with an assist for Germany’s sixth and had a hand in the world champions’ fourth goal.
He may have started out as a midfielder, but as Germany head coach Joachim Löw declared prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 group stage win against the Northern Ireland, “you’re a right-back now.”
It was a vacancy Germany desperately needed to fill following Philipp Lahm‘s triumphant final hurrah as captain at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. As luck would have it, Kimmich’s size, stature, ability and demeanour made him the ideal candidate for the role.
“Joshua is one of the biggest talents I have seen over the past 10 years or so,” said Löw, who handed Kimmich his first senior international cap in a friendly defeat to Slovakia in May 2016. “He has a certain hunger and desire, he wants to be on top of his game in every single training session. I think he can have a huge career.”
A changing of the guard for club and country, comparisons between king and heir were inevitable – and remain inescapable to this day – but Kimmich is determined to write his own history.
“Philipp enjoyed a perfect career,” Kimmich told Sport Bild. “You can never replace a player like that like-for-like, but it’s also important for me to go my own way. I don’t want people to see me as a Philipp Lahm clone. I want to do things as Joshua Kimmich.”
Into the record books alongside Beckenbauer, a FIFA 2017 Confederations Cup winner and a two-time Bundesliga champion at the tender age of 22, the autonomous route is working wonders for a player many see as a future Bayern and Germany captain. Armband or not, the Kimmich era is already shaping up to be one to savour.
Quiz: How well do you know Kimmich’s beloved Bayern Munich?