Joshua Kimmich (l.) has successfully replaced the retired Philipp Lahm (r.) for both Bayern Munich and Germany. - © gettyimages / ALex Grimm
Joshua Kimmich (l.) has successfully replaced the retired Philipp Lahm (r.) for both Bayern Munich and Germany. - © gettyimages / ALex Grimm
Bundesliga

Bayern Munich legend Paul Breitner on Joshua Kimmich as the next Philipp Lahm, Thomas Müller and Thiago Alacantara

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!

- © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Alexander Scheuber

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...

- © imago / Simon Hofmann

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."

- © imago / Sportfoto Rudel

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…

On Germany's 2018 World Cup tactics…

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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