Joshua Kimmich: A tactical analysis of Bayern Munich's Klassiker specialist


Joshua Kimmich has decided two of the most recent Klassiker meetings between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund so it's little wonder his coach Hansi Flick has described him as “a mentality monster”.

Such is the historic quality of both sides, Klassiker matches are often defined by the smallest of margins. Kimmich’s contributions in two recent Bayern-Dortmund showdowns are evidence of this.

Kimmich hit the only goal of the game in Bayern’s crucial win over Dortmund on Matchday 28 of last season, a sumptuous chip that put the Bavarians on course to defend their title. As a result, they opened up a seven-point lead over BVB - which would have been a single point advantage had Kimmich & co. lost.

Watch: Joshua Kimmich's incredible chip against Dortmund

He repeated his heroics with an 82nd-minute winner to seal DFB Supercup glory as Bayern edged out Dortmund 3-2 at the end of September. That was part of a sextuple of trophies that he has lifted with the European champions and FIFA Club World Cup winners over the last 18 months.

The right-back-turned-centre-midfielder was forced off with a knee injury in the next meeting of the sides, but Bayern still managed to eke out a 3-2 league win in Dortmund in November 2020.

"Games against Dortmund are always special," the Germany international told the Bayern website ahead of the latest Klassiker. "Since I've been here, they've always been our fiercest rivals."

Kimmich has been a colossus since joining Bayern from RB Leipzig in 2015 and his Philipp Lahm-carved path into a midfield dynamo has helped transform player and club into an all-conquering side under Flick.

As his coach put it on the eve of one Klassiker: "Joshua Kimmich is an absolute professional, a mentality monster. He's always in the game - he never gives up. He's one who always pushes but of course has enormous quality on the ball.

"His passes and his set pieces have enormous quality. That's why he plays for Bayern Munich and is why we've also been so successful with him."

Whether Kimmich is breaking up play or orchestrating it, whipping in set-pieces or lobbing goalkeepers, he is a truly remarkable footballer and one of the best midfielders on the planet right now.

Like all of the best players in the world, though, the 26-year-old is often at his best on the big occasion. And in the Bundesliga, that means when Bayern meet Dortmund.

"We need absolute resolve in every game - not just against Dortmund," Kimmich told the Bayern website.

"But especially against them - in a game where two teams are almost on an equal footing."

Mentality, Kimmich stressed, can often make the difference. As Dortmund know all too well, he is one player that is not lacking in that department.