Joshua Kimmich (l.) is among Julian Nagelsmann's (r.) most important players at Bayern Munich. - © /
Joshua Kimmich (l.) is among Julian Nagelsmann's (r.) most important players at Bayern Munich. - © /
bundesliga

"Joshua Kimmich is world class at right-back and in central midfield" - Bayern Munich's Julian Nagelsmann

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Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann has welcomed the return to full fitness of Joshua Kimmich, labelling the Germany international as "world class".

Kimmich missed Bayern's final eight competitive matches of 2021, before returning to action at the start of the new year.

In the absence of a whole host of first-team regulars, the 26-year-old was deployed at right-back on Bundesliga Matchdays 18 and 19, but returned to his preferred central midfield role in the 4-1 win at Hertha Berlin last time out.

As well as producing two assists, Kimmich enjoyed more touches (125), played more passes - finding a man with 91 per cent of his 125 attempts - and covered more ground (7.8 miles/ 12.57 kilometres) than any player on the pitch in the German capital.

Watch: Hertha Berlin 1-4 Bayern Munich - highlights

Needless to say, Bayern's head honcho was mightily impressed.

"Jo's passing was brilliant, he played a very, very good game," enthused Nagelsmann after Kimmich helped Bayern restore their six-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga.

"It's so important to have a No.6 who wants the ball and has the necessary composure in possession. I know he prefers to play in the middle, but I don't need reminding. I've made a note of it (laughs).

"The great thing is he's world class at right-back and in midfield."

Kimmich - a product of VfB Stuttgart's vaunted youth academy - started out as a defensive midfielder, but entered the popular consciousness as a right-back before being used almost exclusively in midfield once Hansi Flick took charge of Bayern in November 2019. To date, he has made over half his 187 Bundesliga appearances in the middle of the park.

"I've always said I prefer to play there, but I'm just happy to be playing again," Kimmich explained.

"We completely controlled the game and it was a lot of fun, but we still to iron out a few inconsistencies.

"We're on the right track. The more we play like that, the more confindent we'll become and the more performances you'll see like the Hertha one."

Watch: How Kimmich runs the Bayern midfield

Bayern host Kimmich's former club Red Bull Leipzig in their first game back following the Bundesliga's mini January break, on 5 February. The record champions then travel to Bochum (12 February), before taking on Salzburg in their UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg (16 February).

Kimmich is bidding to land his seventh - and Bayern's 10th - straight Bundesliga title, as well as his second in the Champions League. A Bayern player since summer 2015, the 64-time Germany international recently signed a contract extension that will keep him at the club through to 30 June 2025.