Kimmich’s feet firmly rooted to the ground despite successful debut | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 24.06.2016
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Kimmich’s feet firmly rooted to the ground despite successful debut

Joshua Kimmich was pleased with his first outing for Germany at a major tournament. However, the 21-year-old Bayern man has rejected any comparisons to his captain at Munich, Philipp Lahm.

The players who appeared at the press conference at the DFB's (German FA) headquarters in Evian on Friday came from opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of experience.

While goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (30) has 68 caps and has worn the captain's armband at Euro 2016 in place of the still not fully fit Bastian Schweinsteiger, the 21-year-old Joshua Kimmich, had just come off his competitive debut for Germany, in La Mannschaft's 1-0 win over Northern Ireland on Tuesday.

The youngster impressed many playing as a right back with license to go forward at the Parc des Princes in Paris - with some members of the German media even going so far as to compare him to Philipp Lahm, who retired from international football on a winning note after the World Cup final in Brazil two years ago.

Bashful rookie

Asked about such comparisons at Friday's news conference though, Kimmich, who said he was actually most comfortable as a defensive midfielder, briefly blushed.

"Philipp is one of the best outside backs in the world, and has proved this over many years – how well he can perform on the right side," Kimmich said. "I have but one Bundesliga season and one European championship match under my belt. So there is no comparison."

Bildkombo Joshua Killich und Philip Lahm

No comparison, at least not yet: Joshua Kimmich and former national team captain Philipp Lahm

Kimmich insisted that while he had already heard about such comparisons, he was not about to take them seriously and had been pleased after Tuesday's match to have received a text in which Lahm congratulated him and the team on their performance.

"I hope that he crosses his fingers for us again on Sunday," Kimmich added, in a reference to Germany's last-16 match against Slovakia In Lille.

Businesslike demeanor

The praise has come not just from the press, but also from his teammates, including the veteran Neuer.

"He goes about his business in a cool, calm manner," Neuer, who also plays for Bayern, told reporters. "We knew even before that match that we can count on him."

For his part, Kimmich is hoping to get the nod from head coach Joachim Löw again in two days' time.

"If I play, against Slovakia, I just want to perform well again," Kimmich said.

As reporters also learned during Friday's press conference, it seems Kimmich has made a habit of being an overachiever. Asked how he did in high school, Kimmich replied that he had graduated with a 1.7 grade-point average, which would probably translate to something like an A- in the American grading system. Not too shabby!

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