“Hello, I’m Min-jae!” This is how Kim Min-jae introduced himself to FC Bayern Munich in the summer. “Hello, I’m fine,” the South Korean defensive giant might be thinking now.
Kim has played 959 of a possible 990 minutes for the record champions in the current Bundesliga season, and the 27-year-old played in all four Champions League games on Wednesday at full distance.
A lot is expected of the new signing and there is no real recovery in sight, even during the international break – how long will this last?
First of all, it must be said: Kim goes by the nickname “Monster” – and for good reason. The robustness and attacking strength of the 1.90 meter man, who played for SSC Napoli last season Scudetto The news spread quickly in the new foster home.
Kim’s situation at FC Bayern, however, represents another new challenge for the champion defender: in a defensive structure that is not overly populated by just three nominal central defenders, the South Korean is the only one who is consistently in form – and, therefore, you have to make an effort. particularly difficult where others cannot, they may stretch.
Matthijs de Ligt is still absent due to a partial rupture of the internal ligament in his right knee joint, Dayot Upamecano was recently absent due to a thigh injury.
Tuchel: “Intense matches – also for the head”
And Kim? He’s always playing. Because he has to. The only game Kim missed was the first round of the DFB Cup against Preußen Münster. Since then, much of the burden has fallen on his broad shoulders, which coach Thomas Tuchel generally considers too heavy.
“There were two very intense matches this week, also with heads. Lots of changes, I’m very happy and grateful for the three points”, said the coach at the weekend after the 4-2 victory over Heidenheim. Sky-Microphone.
In the two games in question (Heidenheim and Galatasaray), Kim was challenged as always, played well most of the time, but in the end he was not free from the head fatigue that Tuchel identified as a danger.
In the Champions League, the South Korean was tricked into making it 1-2 late with just a long pass from the center circle. As a result, he lost the duel against Cédric Bakambu and was unable to decisively stop him from submitting. .
The next accident happened against Heidenheim. Munich were winning 2-0 and the game seemed completely under control. But Kim played a poor pass in his own build-up play to the feet of Heidenheim’s Jan-Niklas Beste, who made it 1-2 – and began the provisional comeback.
The error was reminiscent of a similarly botched pass with which Kim conceded a goal against Monaco in the build-up in Unterhaching.
Friend: “He’s at his limit”
“Min-jae has played 90 minutes in every game for months, including for the national team. He’s a little tired, he’s on edge. Losses of concentration happen, that’s human,” said sporting director Christoph Freund, apologizing. Sky your defense leader.
In some cases, the lack of concentration had worse consequences than against Heidenheim and Unterhaching: in the cup defeat against Saarbrücken, before the 1-1 draw, Kim made an unnecessary pass to the pressured Frans Krätzig, who wasted the ball.
The goal began the sensational knockout – and Tuchel said this openly: “(Kim’s) decision; Observed. Red.) It’s certainly not good to play on Frans under full pressure. French is broken. Min-jae then enters the duel, which is a 50/50 duel. He can also stand and push you away. This still happens to us very often. We take risks at times when it is not necessary.”
However, what Bavaria faces is also a risk – but the question is what the alternative is in the midst of a situation of reduced staffing and a persistently tight timetable.
Kim: 80 hours between China international game and Bundesliga return
Kim will also be busy during the international break: on Thursday, South Korea has a World Cup qualifier against Singapore in the capital Seoul, and the following Tuesday there is also an official game against China in Shenzen, the more than 2,000 kilometers away – less than 80 hours later, on Friday night in Cologne, the return of the Bundesliga.
If you add up all the flight kilometers of the trip, you get distances of around 20 thousand kilometers.
The stress level remains high – which Kim is unlikely to complain about. Consider that in FC Bayern’s intro video he revealed that he used to pull his car’s tires up hills to get faster. And he chose sport because football “with its high running intensity” would have been particularly suitable for him.
And yet, at a certain point, even a monster gets tired – and FC Bayern must, in its own interests, carefully consider when the time is right to give him the necessary breaks.