Kimmich began his Bayern career under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola at the age of 20. He was initially deployed in the centre of midfield (his preferred position) but often faced having to play second fiddle to the exceptionally talented Thiago who was the main draw in Pep's midfield. Noted for his versatility and keen to get him time on the pitch Pep at times used Kimmich as an emergency centre back. He would make a fleeting 15 appearances (8 of those from the bench).
Having struggled for game time under Pep, things did not really get better under Ancelotti in terms of game time though there was some key markers of technical and tactical progress under the Italian. Firstly, there was the signs he could feature at right back where he made 2 appearances and secondly, he scored 6 goals from midfield thus demonstrating his natural ability to be effective in the final third.
The following season after Lahm’s retirement, and the arrival of Jupp Heynckes as interim coach, Kimmich finally broke into the first XI and became a mainstay at right back. In his 36 appearances (Bundesliga and UCL) he scored 5 goals and grabbed 13 assists, brilliant figures considering it was his first fully fledged season in that position. Under Kovac he continued playing at right back and his numbers remained strong despite the Croatian failing to bring the best out of the rest of the side.
Despite Kimmich enjoying a burgeoning reputation as a right-back, his long-term goal was always to feature as a central midfielder. Fortunately for him, Kovac lost his job and was replaced by Hans-Dieter Flick and another hot prospect at right back arrived at the Allianz Arena, Benjamin Pavard. The combination of these changes led to Kimmich being Bayern’s first choice CDM in the Bundesliga where he featured 23 times. Playing further up the pitch enabled Kimmich to be more of a goal threat, but it did take away from his ability to lay off assists from wider positions.
Kimmich’s best technical attribute is his long passing. When he plays at right back he provides dangerously whipped crosses in the box and in the midfield he can play curled long balls in between the opposition centre-back and full-backs, feeding his forwards. His intelligence in terms of movement off the ball and general decision making in possession is undoubtedly elite. He averages 90.4% in possession, with 1.7 key passes per game - compare that to Trent AA who averages a mere 75.3 % (yet people claim he can play as a midfielder) and De Jong who averages 1.1 passes per game (more of a controller than a creator).
He is quite nimble on the ball but not someone you would bracket alongside De Jong or Busquets in terms of sheer press resistance - De Jong averages 1.8 dribbles per game compared to 0.5 dribbles per game for Kimmich. Hence why he is arguably more effective as a double pivot rather than a single pivot, which alleviates the pressure in terms of being the sole player burdened with bringing the ball out from defensive areas.
Kimmich is not one of your better defenders right now who can just lunge into a tackle and win the ball back. His defensive play surrounds around positioning. Sure he can make those last minute crunch tackles but he usually relies on waiting till the right moment to make standing tackles. His defensive contribution in terms of statistics is weaker than even Trent AA (3.1 vs 3.6 - Defensive Actions Per 90) and especially when compared to a defensively robust right back like Dani Carvajal (5.4 Defensive Actions per 90).
In a one v one situation he tries to make the work difficult for his opponent, stalling and stalling and once a mistake is made by an attacker he puts his foots in to clear away the ball. As a right back he often gets caught back out of position but he has the stamina to get back continuously for whole 90 minutes but he is not quick. If a pacey winger or a forward runs past him and then he is gonna lose the foot race cause he lacks that pace.
Kimmich when he plays at the right back likes to go deep towards the by line and when he reaches it, he tries to put in crosses in dangerous positions. His position awareness is superb and he knows what is going around him and takes most of the empty spaces on the flanks created by his wingers. The main problem for defenders arises when he gets the possession in those half spaces. He can either make a darting run towards the goalkeeper and go for a shot or can play a long ball towards the free man on left side.
Kimmich plays in a double pivot midfield for Bayern along side Goretzka. His role is to play deep alongside his defenders trying which provides cover to his full backs who move forward to support their attackers. His play mostly depends on how much time and space he has on the ball. If he is pressed by opposing players then it is simple distribution of ball from one flank to another.
But if he is given time and space then he looks up towards his forwards, sees what kind of run is being made and tries to play a long ball. He is dangerous when he is around the opponent waiting for any half cleared ball because he has that ability to play that dink ball which can effectively take out the entire defence just like Thiago. Stats show that he has completed over 300 long passes with an accuracy of over 72% and his xA per match was 0.26 last season.
At the mere age of 25 Kimmich has won many honours and has become a major player for the Bavarians. In a star-studded team which consists of Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer, Kimmich has become one of the important players in that squad and after the departure of Thiago he has become the main man in that midfield. With the performances he is pulling now one can wonder whether he can follow in the footsteps of Lahm and Schweinsteiger and lead this Bayern squad as the captain in foreseeable future.