Joshua Kimmich is aiming to deliver yet more success on the pitch for both Bayern Munich and Germany in 2021. - © Matthias Hangst/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images
Joshua Kimmich is aiming to deliver yet more success on the pitch for both Bayern Munich and Germany in 2021. - © Matthias Hangst/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

Joshua Kimmich: "RB Leipzig are Bayern Munich's biggest challengers"


Joshua Kimmich has his eyes on success with Bayern Munich and Germany ahead of a big year for the midfielder, who knows both club and country will be looking to the 25-year-old to lead them to further success in 2021.

The Bayern midfielder spoke exclusively to about the threat of RB Leipzig to their Bundesliga crown and his hopes with the national team ahead of their UEFA European Championship bid this summer. Congrats on the win over Augsburg. The first half of the season is now over, so looking ahead to the second half of the season, which kicks off on Sunday against Schalke, what pleased you about the first half of the season and what do you need to improve?

Joshua Kimmich: “I especially liked the first game against Schalke. I think this was our best game in the first half of the season. We’re happy that we’re at the top of the table and we have to continue this run, but we also know that we can play better, like we did in some games.”

Watch: Joshua Kimmich's midfield masterclass Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, Leipzig… There are so many teams chasing you. Who’s your biggest rival at the moment and why?

Joshua Kimmich: “At the moment, it’s Leipzig. They’re second in the table and I think they play really good football. They concede less goals and always score more goals than their opponents, so they win their games – not always clearly but like us winning 1-0, ok not like us, we are not winning 1-0, we’re winning 3-2 or something like this because we concede more goals than Leipzig... but at the moment they’re really consistent and win their games, so they are our biggest rivals at the moment.” Everybody remembers your championship-winning goal last season against Dortmund and you’re obviously one of the go-to guys in your team. Where does this winning mentality come from?

Joshua Kimmich: “I don’t know. I have had this since I was a little kid, not only in football but also in other sports or games. I always try to win because then it’s more fun for me and so this character developed. But I don’t know where it started.” How did this winning mentality develop over the years, from when you started to play football as a small kid up until now?

Joshua Kimmich: “There was no special moment, I think I was the same character 10 years ago, so there was not a special moment where I changed my mind or something like that. I think I always wanted to lead, also in my youth, and now I have to keep going like this.”

Joshua Kimmich (c.) was a central figure in delivering Bayern Munich's record-breaking treble last season. - Matthias Hangst/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images Against Augsburg, you played your fifth game since your knee injury. How did you as a dressing room leader create a positive impact on the team during your time away from the pitch?

Joshua Kimmich: “Yeah, it’s difficult. When you’re injured, you’re a bit isolated from the team but I try to speak to my teammates, sometimes I write something in our chat. You’re a bit separated from the team but I always try to stay in touch with them. At first, I had to focus on my recovery, to help the team again, because from the couch it’s not that easy to help.” Alphonso Davies, Robert Lewandowski and yourself made it into the FIFPro World 11. Besides that, many experts describe you as world-class in both attack and defence, but you’re also well-known to be very ambitious. Where do you see any potential to get even better than you are right now? Where do you still want to improve?

Joshua Kimmich: “In every point in the way I play, I can improve. I can score more often, win more balls in midfield to help my team. I think I can also improve my strength. My development is not over yet.” Lewandowski set a new record for Hinrunde goals. What do you think, is it possible for him to break Gerd Müller’s 40-goal record?

Joshua Kimmich: “The most important thing is that he stays fit and then it’s possible for him to beat this record. I hope he will always score once or twice a game because it’s also good for the team and I hope he will beat him.” In the Bayern midfield, there’s another great talent on show these days: Jamal Musiala. How do you judge his development so far and what’s he capable of in the future?

Joshua Kimmich: “Jamal is amazing for his age, he has really good control with the ball, he has a clear mind. He’s always with a positive mind, he tries to learn from us and always when he comes on. He always plays good, he keeps the ball, has great dribbling, I think he has scored three goals, or two goals now, and you see his potential. When he plays more often, he’ll develop and get better and better. I hope we, and especially me, can help him become a great player for Bayern Munich.” Can you explain what went through your head during one of your best plays in the first game of this season against Schalke, when you gave that nice assist to Leroy Sane?

Joshua Kimmich: “Here in the first action, I just tried to keep the ball, not to lose the ball. It was not easy because there were two opponents but I was a bit lucky and afterwards I could see the space in front of me. I looked around, saw nobody was coming behind me, so I had the time to see Leroy and play the assist for him.” Is it difficult to stay clear in the head when there’s so much action around you?

Joshua Kimmich: “When you’re not that fast in your body, you have to be fast in your mind and one of these two points has to be fast and I think I’m faster in my mind than in my body.”

Watch: Joshua Kimmich's stunning assist in Bayern's 8-0 mauling of Schalke And what went through your head before your goal against Dortmund?

Joshua Kimmich: “I won the ball in the midfield, I know that as a central midfielder it is not easy to get the ball in this situation, with [Thomas] Delaney there, but I could win it and maybe I passed too early for Robert, so he couldn’t score and had to pass back. I controlled the ball with my right foot, maybe it would be better to control with the left and it’s easier to score with the right foot. I didn’t do well in this situation but I had a really quick reaction for the second ball, so luckily I could score afterwards, but it was just a quick reaction. I saw the ball flying over the goalkeeper, so I hoped that it would fly into the goal and not over the goal, then when my teammates were screaming, I knew it was in.” Shortly after the end of the Bundesliga season you will meet some of your Bayern teammates again, facing them at the European Championships and there will be a very early duel between Germany and France. Have you already talked about that with the likes of Kingsley Coman and the other Frenchmen in the locker room or maybe right after the draw? Do you look forward to it?

Joshua Kimmich: “Yeah, of course, after the draw and sometimes we speak about it in the locker room. There are a few months to go, so it’s in the future now. We spoke about it but not every day. It will be a big challenge for both teams, because for both teams it’s a strong opponent in the first game.” How can we imagine those chats? Is there a lot of teasing?

Joshua Kimmich: “Just a bit of fun, talking about it and trying to have a bit of fun, it’s not that serious.”

Joshua Kimmich (c.) made his 50th appearance for Germany in 2020 and is hoping to win the European Championships in 2021. - Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images It’s your chance to lift a trophy you haven’t won before. How do you judge the chances for the German squad with this tough group in mind?

Joshua Kimmich: “It’s a really tough group. It’s not easy to go through this group but of course it’s our goal. To win our games, we know we have a lot of work ahead of us because the last games were not that good. We know this, we have to improve, we have to play better and we will try to, then we’ll see. I think we have the quality to go through to the next round.” You will be recognised as one of the leading players in the German squad. How do you define or interpret this role in the national team?

Joshua Kimmich: “Yeah, of course it’s a bit different because here in Bayern Munich you’re with the teammates every day and with the national team, the squad always changes a bit. Here you have one year or half a year with the same squad, the same teammates, so the national team is a bit harder to find your role in the team, especially for the new players, so it’s a bit different to lead, because the players sometimes change.” Before the European Championships you’ll be honoured with a wax figure in Berlin, as voted for by the fans. Is that a special honour for you?

Joshua Kimmich: “It’s always special when you’re voted by the fans, then you know there are some people out there who like you and it’s a nice feeling. I’m honoured by this.” And it is a sporty pose with a ball. What would the private wax figure look like if you could decide?

Joshua Kimmich: “If there would be a private one - and I hope that it would not be public - I think it would be with my kids, on the couch, with my girlfriend.” What are you looking forward to the most after the pandemic?

Joshua Kimmich: “I think everybody hopes there will be a life after coronavirus, to go out to the city, to see the people smiling, to go to the restaurant or the cafe. Also when the kids can go to the ‘Kita’ as we call it in German (kindergarten), that will be good for the parents, then it’s a bit quieter at home and for the kids it’s also nice to meet other kids and to play with them. I think a bit of this normal life would be great for all of us.”