Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez has lavished praise on Joshua Kimmich, predicting that the versatile Germany international will one day succeed the likes of Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Oliver Kahn in leading the Bavarians out.
It has been a difficult start to the season for Martinez, who started just one of a possible 10 Bundesliga games under Niko Kovac before the coach’s departure last Sunday, which came hot on the heels of a 5-1 defeat to his former club, Eintracht Frankfurt.
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Kimmich, who had made the right-back position his own in recent seasons, has been part of the reason Martinez’s minutes have been so restricted, with the 24-year-old preferred as the industry to Thiago Alcantara’s guile in the middle of the park.
Martinez, who won the treble in 2013 at the end of his first season with Bayern and has been captained by Lahm and Manuel Neuer, bears no ill will though, and thinks Kimmich has what it takes to become another Bayern great.
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“He’s a player that fits perfectly with Bayern,” he explained in SportBild. “He’s internalised all the values of the club from an early age. It feels like he’s already made 100 appearances, and that’s why I’m convinced that he’ll play for many, many years and one day lead the team as captain.”
Neuer led the team out in Der Klassiker on Saturday evening, while both Martinez and Kimmich started – the former at the heart of the defence with Niklas Süle and Lucas Hernandez injured and Jerome Boateng suspended; the latter in his new home in central midfield.