This season was said to be a one of transition for Bayern Munich. Under a new manager who had not managed a big club before, they had players who had passed their primes and were reaching a time of their careers when they were not expected to be their best.
If Bayern fans were told that they would win the league and the DFB Pokal four weeks into the season, they would have been very happy about it. While getting knocked out of the UEFA Champions League in the Round of 16 was a disappointment, but with a team that was deemed to be in transition, winning two trophies is not a bad achievement at all.
In their win over RB Leipzig in the final of the DFB Pokal, one thing came out very clearly. The future of Bayern Munich is very bright. That is not because they won, but because of how their so-called ‘upcoming’ players played. And the most impressive of them was Joshua Kimmich.
The German right-back has been one of the best players in the Bundesliga this season and Bayern’s best player, very clearly. At the age of 24, Kimmich came up with a brilliant performance not just going forward but more so while tracking back. It proved why he is the best right-back in the world today.
Not just that, it showed that Kimmich is the man who can lead this team forward. Comparisons to Phillip Lahm can easily be drawn for how similar they are in terms of abilities and it will be a very fair comparison too. Like Lahm was under Pep Guardiola, Kimmich finds it very easy to play in central midfield and he goes about his business calmly and discreetly.
Lahm was never a vocal leader. Neither is Kimmich. He leads by setting examples for everyone around him.
Next season onwards, Bayern are set to have a young and dynamic team that Niko Kovac would love to play with and improve. Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez will come in and get to grips with the club in their first season. A couple of new wingers will come in and settle in. With no Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, the club would need leaders that know what the club is about and can set an example for the newer players.
While Thomas Muller has been there enough and Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Robert Lewandowski have been there for long now too, Kimmich is someone who is yet to reach his prime. Despite that, he is the best right-back in the world. He is of the level that Bayern would want their stars of the next generation to be and he would lead the bandwagon for setting that standard high.
The foundation has been set already. The only way forward is up for Bayern, with Borussia Dortmund having slipped up their best chance of winning the Bundesliga in recent times. They too will only improve but in Kimmich, Bayern have someone the club can get behind and improve.