Bayern Munich defender Kim Min-jae is evolving into a new persona in Munich after a breakout season with Napoli last season.
The Bavarians cruised to a 3-0 victory over SC Freiburg in the seventh round of the 2023/24 German Bundesliga on Monday (Sept. 9) at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, thanks to a brace from Kingsley Coman and a goal from Leroy Sane.
In the match, Kim made his seventh consecutive start in the league and played the full game, putting in a solid defensive performance. According to soccer statistics provider FobMob, Kim played a perfect 90 minutes, completing 92% of his passes (157/171), creating one chance, three interceptions, 10 recoveries, and winning 100% of his aerial balls (8/8). His rating of 8.3 was the highest of the night, behind only Coman (9.2) and Sane (8.5), who also scored.
In particular, Kim earned a standing ovation from the Munich home fans in the third minute of the second half when he used his physicality to deny Freiburg winger Maximilian Philipp in the box, forcing a goal kick. Following up on his previous performance against Copenhagen, Kim Min-jae continued to put in a string of solid performances that erased his recent controversial label as a nervous wreck.
Kim drew some flak from German legend Lothar Matthäus for his less-than-impressive performance in the team’s 2-2 draw against RB Leipzig last time out.
After winning 25% of his aerial balls and conceding a goal in the process of conceding an early goal, Kim looked to be struggling as he allowed Offenda to break through and his shot rebounded off Kim’s leg and into the Munich goal. Mateusz said after the game, “Kim is not yet close to what we expect from him and he is a source of anxiety for Munich. He has not yet lived up to the expectations I have for him.” However, Kim quickly proved the criticism wrong by playing well in the two games that followed the controversy.
German media outlets have also taken notice of Kim’s other strengths, and have praised his transformative performance this season.
“Kim Min-jae is becoming a passing monster in Munich,” FCB Insider reported on September 9.
FCB Inside said, “Kim Min-jae has established himself as a reliable defender in Munich. In the last game against Freiburg, he not only showed his defensive prowess, but also shone in his ability to build the play accurately.”
In fact, we’ve seen a lot more of the passing that made him stand out at Napoli last season in Munich this season, alongside his defensive prowess.
After playing 68 minutes in the opening game against Werder Bremen to try and lift the spirits, he had some unsettling moments in the first league game, with some risky passes, and then again against Augsburg. It was a rather adventurous pass, and one that could have been avoided.
From the third round onward, Kim adjusted to these passes immediately. He started and played the full game against Mönchengladbach, an opponent Munich hadn’t beaten away from home in four years, and showed off his passing ability alongside his dominance in the air and his ability to use his speed to cover the back four.
Since then, Kim has been the team’s top passer for four consecutive matches, starting against Leverkusen and ending against Freiburg, with virtually all of Munich’s passes coming from the back. His 171 passes in Freiburg were the most since Aleksandar Dragovic attempted 178 against Leverkusen and Düsseldorf in 2019, according to soccer statistics provider Opta. 토토사이트
Kim’s ability to pass as well as defend was a key part of Munich’s performance. As FCB Inside explains, “His role in Munich’s buildup is very important. He is not known for his long transition passes, but he builds his game with precise passes. He has the ability to read the game and make passes that put his teammates in good positions. This is what makes him a key player in Thomas Tuchel’s system.”
If Kim’s transformation from a defensive monster to a passing monster continues to have a significant impact on Munich’s performance this season, it’s likely to endear him to Munich fans even more.