Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich: "I used to try and copy what Bastian Schweinsteiger did"
Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich has said he used to try and copy what Bastian Schweinsteiger after watching him as a youngster.
Kimmich has become one of the first names on Bayern's teamsheet whether at right-back or his preferred position of defensive midfield. The 25-year-old believes a lot of his success comes down to mentality, which is something he tried to learn by watching one of his idols growing up.
"When I was younger, I did try to copy a lot of what he [Bastian Schweinsteiger] did," Kimmich told Bayern's YouTube channel. "He was always someone who led the way by bringing his own mentality to the table. For me, that was best shown in the World Cup final."
That sort of passionate mentality is something Kimmich has brought to his own game in recent years, often being seen emotionally shouting at teammates or celebrating tackles with the type of roar expected in goal celebrations. It falls under his ideology of being a 'side before self' type of player.
"I think that I also bring a certain mentality to the pitch," Kimmich said. "I also think that I'm a player whose priority isn't making themselves look good on the pitch. Instead, I give my all for my team and I try to help my teammates."
And one way he has been able to develop his mindset is by playing and watching tennis on a more regular basis, noting Roger Federer, in particular, as another role model of his.
"Since 2016, I think it was at the Euros that year, I started to play tennis every so often in my free time," Kimmich explained. "Mentally, everyone who plays tennis is an absolute monster. The sport impresses me, especially Roger Federer.
"He represents elegance, class, and is a role model, a gentleman and a fair competitor. Those are things that I just enjoy. The fact that there's someone who is extremely successful and who, somehow, feels very little envy. It's almost as though everyone liked him."
All of this allows much more sense to be made of the fact that when signed by Bayern in 2015 at the age of 20, Kimmich went to officials at the club for answers as to why he - coming from RB Leipzig who had just won promotion to the Bundesliga 2 - was signed ahead of all other potential suitors to the club.
Watch: Last season, we look at how Kimmich has become one of the world's best right-backs!
"Personally, it was important for me to find out why Bayern had chosen me," Kimmich said.
"Especially given that it's Bayern. From my perspective, Bayern could buy nearly any player in the world, especially to fill my position. That's why it was intriguing for me to find out 'why me?'. What was the deciding factor?"
Since then, the Stuttgart-native has enjoyed great success at Bayern with four Bundesliga titles and two DFB Cups already to his name.
He's been able to enjoy that most recently with a fellow Stuttgart-native in Serge Gnabry, who Kimmich has known since they played with and against each other as teenagers.
"I think when I was 11 or 12 I played a few tournaments for Stuttgart as a guest player," Kimmich explained. "The first tournament that Serge also attended – I think it was in Bretten-Büchig – that was the first one. Serge was already a bit more well-known back then. We'd already played against each other before then as well. We were pretty chill and got along well right from the start."
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