With a tournament-high 28 chances created in last season's UEFA Champions League, Joshua Kimmich (l.) is doing Barcelona and Spain legend Xavi Hernandez (r.) proud. - © Getty Images
With a tournament-high 28 chances created in last season's UEFA Champions League, Joshua Kimmich (l.) is doing Barcelona and Spain legend Xavi Hernandez (r.) proud. - © Getty Images
bundesliga

Joshua Kimmich: "Xavi was my role model"

He may have shot to prominence as a right-back for Bayern Munich and Germany, but Joshua Kimmich's journey to world-class midfielder was always a personal ambition…

Kimmich was initially a central midfielder who helped RB Leipzig scale the divisions having arrived at the Red Bull Arena from VfB Stuttgart's fabled youth set-up in 2013.

He spent the first four seasons of his Bundesliga career as a right-back with Bayern, though, and was only handed a midfield starting berth for Germany on his 30th cap - a 3-0 friendly win over Russia in November 2018.

He had long since made the transition when he won the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League Defender of the Season award last October, and his ascension to midfield string-puller for club and country should come as no surprise.

Watch: Kimmich's midfield masterclass

"My role model was always Xavi Hernandez from Barcelona," Kimmich explained to SportBild. "He was never the greatest, but had an eye for the game, passing, technique. He was always trying to put others in the limelight.

"That impressed me, that's what I want to orient myself towards. I met Xavi once at the training camp in Doha in 2019, that was a really cool moment!"

Kimmich has laid on 13 goals in all competitions for Bayern from central midfield this season - only assist-machine Thomas Müller, with 17, has more - and will have the chance to add to his 13 assists for Germany when Die Mannschaft take on Iceland on Thursday.