Analysis: Can Low afford to use aggressive-leader Kimmich as a right-back?

2021-06-08 09:06:02 GMT2021-06-08 17:06:02(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Germany is approaching fine-tuning stages after an encouraging 7-1 win over underdog Latvia.

Facing UEFA 2020 Euro favorite France next Tuesday, several decisive decisions lie ahead of coach Joachim Low. Where to place Bayern leader Joshua Kimmich seems the most pressing one.

While the 26-year-old covered the right flank in the team's last friendly, sharing jobs of a full-back and a midfielder along the side-line, his true values remain in the midfield center.

"His variability is what makes him a particular player," the German coach stated but added a final decision about Kimmich's point of use is yet to be decided.

Over the past years, Kimmich has developed into Germany's aggressive leader in midfield after moving in from the right-back position.

Leaving his starting position in the national team has been the 2020 treble winner's desire for a long time.

"That's where I feel most comfortable," Kimmich said after reaching a world-class level for club and country. "But it's up to the coach," he added.

While Low has to solve his right-back problem, statistical figures speak for themselves. Bayern's midfielder is the country's number one placed in front of the back-row, leaving space for dynamic attacks and, most importantly, to set up a safety zone.

Considering France's midfield power, Kimmich appears to be a must for Low's midfield. Neither Real star Toni Kroos nor City's midfielder Ilkay Guendogan addresses a similarly high level of presence when it comes to robustness.

To achieve a surprise in the tournament's "death group" with France and Portugal, closing down space seems to be Low's primary target.

To survive the expected fierce battle against France, Low will be forced to make the smart decision. Kimmich might have accepted the full-back job beside three central defenders, but his desired place is in midfield.

To withstand the French side's offensive power, the German coach is considering a back-row of three, turning into a chain of five when under attack.

While Antonio Ruediger, Mats Hummels, and Matthias Ginter cover the center, the right-back position turns into Low's emergency issue.

Despite the goal-fest against Latvia, the number of failing passes gives reason for concern.

Former German international Matthias Sammer called Kimmich an untouchable force. "He has what most don't have, an early warning system covering all sorts of developments in training, the game, and the entire team," the 1996 European Champion said.

Kimmich has the tools to glue together lose parts of a group and create a determined team, he added.

Germany's Euro opening game against France is seen as a final by Low.

Therefore, the German coach might carefully select the ones able to turn things in favor of his side. The 61-year-old can't neglect the fact that Kimmich is one of the rare species of on-pitch decision-makers. Enditem