Joshua Kimmich "has everything" to be as good as Philipp Lahm, Bayern Munich legend Paul Breitner believes after seeing the youngster step into the void for both club and country.

Kimmich has slotted almost seamlessly into the right-back position vacated by Lahm for Bayern and Germany since the 2014 FIFA World Cup-winning captain retired last summer. The 23-year-old Kimmich is not yet the finished article, but Breitner — a five-time Bundesliga title winner as a member of Bayern's legendary 1970s side — believes he soon will be.

In an interview with El Pais, the former Real Madrid defender also gives his opinion on Bayern's Thomas Müller and Thiago Alcantara as well as RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner while also explaining Germany's continued success at major tournaments and how he — reluctantly — was the spiritual father of the modern-day full-back.

Watch: All of Kimmich's Bundesliga goals and assists so far this season!

On Kimmich as Lahm Mark II…

"He is his successor. He's got great ability. He understands tactics, the phases of the game, and has the intuition of when to change the rhythm. When we think about Lahm, we think about the expert player of 29, 30 or older. We don't talk about the full-back of 21. I watch Kimmich, and he has the same qualities as Lahm. He may or may not develop. But at 23, he has everything to be the second Lahm."

On Thomas Müller and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge...

Thomas Müller, a living Bayern Munich legend ... and still playing! © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Alexander Scheuber

"Thomas Müller is always where he should be. He's a goalscorer. He's able to create chances for others. He's a different type of footballer, but through his movement, he's able to create the same situations, without being as quick or a dribbler like Rummenigge."

On Timo Werner...

"Let's see what happens in the next few years, but he has everything to be a big star. But I have seen so many great talents, with much more talent than me, and 99 per cent of them don't go on to become great players. Timo is a good player. Like [Serge] Gnabry, like [Leon] Goretzka … They're great talents. They could be stars, but we don't know yet."

On Thiago Alcantara…

"Spain needs a mix of the Iniestas and the youngsters. That's the secret. Thiago has accepted to become 15 per cent German to be able to live with the responsibility of a central midfielder. It's fantastic to watch him when he's on form. Sensational. He has learned to accept how Bayern functions, and the work in the centre of the pitch."

On being the first modern full-back…

Breitner says the way David Alaba and other full-backs play nowadays is down to him. © imago / Simon Hofmann

"I was the pioneer. In Hanover, at the start of 1971, I was a midfielder at Bayern, and five hours before the game, Udo Lattek came to me: 'Paul, we have a lot of injuries. Do me a favour and play full-back.' I didn't want to be a full-back, I hated the idea. Full-backs were tough guys who only had to mark an opponent and had no more rights other than to defend. I interpreted the position in my own way.

"Udo Lattek said that he had never seen anyone play so well in that position. In that Hannover-Bayern game, the style of play of Lahm, Kimmich, [Jordi] Alba, [David] Alaba, [Sergio] Ramos etc. was born. We see players like that in every country: when they line up, they're full-backs, and when the chaos starts, they're midfielders or forwards. There was a change in terms of rights: that day, full-backs got more rights. You can't play good football without full-backs like Lahm."

On Germany's 2018 World Cup tactics…

Breitner says Germany don't need to play with a classic number nine like Stuttgart's Mario Gomez. © imago / Sportfoto Rudel

"We don't need a nine like [Mario] Mandzukic, [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic or [Mario] Gomez. We don't need a central striker like that. We need guys with great technique and mobility, someone who you can play with. Someone like Rummenigge in my era. He dropped into midfield, but when a goal had to be scored, he was always in the penalty box. At the right time.

"I always knew where he was running so as to be able to pass him the ball. If I gave him 10 balls, we got nine chances to score. That's why I played it to him 90 per cent of the time, even if I had to dribble past three opponents."

On Germany's 'tournament team' ability…

"You need 40-50 footballers in each generation. Now, we're starting to teach youngsters these ideas and these structures. We don't have troughs any more. A generation is three years. In Germany, the cycles were six years. Three years up, three down. Not any more. From the Under-18s to the Under-21s, in Spain and Germany, you don't see dips. We have learned.

"We have reached the same level as Spain and Brazil, and now we'll be at the best level possible for five-six years. The English still haven't learned that. You need 10-15 years to develop youngsters like ours. We now have more players who can be selected. In 2014, we had a good squad of 22. Now, the quality is better, and instead of 22, there are 35."

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