Guardiola full of praise for 'serious player' Kimmich


Amid the handshakes and the hugs there was a moment at the end of Der Klassiker – Borussia Dortmund's twice-yearly clash with FC Bayern München – when visiting coach Pep Guardiola could be seen in intense conversation with Joshua Kimmich.

Watch: Alonso's reaction to the stalemate

The 21-year-old midfielder had just put in an outstanding display out of position at centre-half against one of Europe's most feared attacks, but, much to the bemusement of the watching world, the Catalan tactician had seemingly spotted some improvements and was keen to convey his thoughts to Kimmich immediately.

"The conversation was just about the fact that I was meant to take Xabi Alonso's position," Kimmich told Germany's leading sport magazine kicker after the stalemate. "I should have been playing a bit deeper. I know what he's [Guardiola] like and obviously he can be emotional, so it was no problem at all."

Archetypal defensive display

Read: Thomas Müller says Bayern are 'no Easter bunnies'

"My only thought was that I should really get going so that I could stay close to him," Kimmich said afterwards. "Not many players catch him up when he really gets going, though, and we knew beforehand that it would be really difficult to defend against him if we were too high up the field. You always have to be a step ahead."

Concentration and determination are, according to Guardiola, attributes that have enabled the former RB Leipzig man to thrive in his new role. "We knew he's not quicker than Aubameyang – that's impossible – but he's always switched on, strong in the air and confident in possession," said the Bayern coach after Der Klassiker. "I can only pay a huge compliment to Joshua Kimmich – he deserves everything that comes his way."

Smooth transition