“Hello, I’m Min-jae!” This is how Kim Min-jae introduced himself against FC Bayern Munich in the summer. “Hello, I’m fine,” the South Korean defensive giant may already be thinking.
Kim played 959 of a possible 990 minutes for the record champions in the current Bundesliga season, and the 27-year-old played all four Champions League matches on Wednesday at full distance.
A lot is expected from the new signing and there is no real recovery in sight even during the international break. How long will that last?
First of all, it should be said that Kim is nicknamed “Monster”, and not in vain. The robustness and attacking strength of the 1.90 meter man, who played for SSC Napoli last season shield Word spread quickly in the new foster home.
However, Kim’s situation at Bayern represents another new challenge for the champion defender: in a defensive structure that is not overcrowded with only three nominal central defenders, the South Korean is the only one who is consistently fit and therefore , you have to make an effort. particularly hard where others cannot stretch.
Matthijs de Ligt is still out with a partial tear of the internal ligament in his right knee, and Dayot Upamecano was recently absent with a thigh injury.
Tuchel: “Intense games, also for the head”
And Kim? He is always playing. Because he has to do it. The only game Kim missed was the first round of the DFB Cup against Preußen Münster. Since then, much of the weight has fallen on his broad shoulders, which coach Thomas Tuchel generally considers very heavy.
“This week there were two very intense games, also head-to-head. “A lot of changes, I’m very happy and grateful for the three points,” said the coach at the weekend after the 4-2 victory against Heidenheim. Darling-Microphone.
In the two games in question (Heidenheim and Galatasaray), Kim was challenged as always, playing well most of the time, but in the end he was not free of the fatigue in his head that Tuchel identified as a danger.
In the Champions League, the South Korean was mocked when with a long pass from the center circle he made it 1-2 at the end, so he lost the duel against Cédric Bakambu and in the end he could not decisively avoid his shot. .
The next mishap occurred against Heidenheim. Munich was leading 2-0 and the match seemed to be completely under control. But Kim made a poor pass on his own build-up play to the feet of Heidenheim’s Jan-Niklas Beste, who made it 1-2 and started the provisional comeback.
The mistake was reminiscent of a similar pass with which Kim conceded a goal against Monaco during the build-up in Unterhaching.
Friend: “He’s at his limit.”
“Min-jae has been playing 90 minutes in each game for months, even with the national team. He’s a little tired, he’s on the edge. Losses of concentration happen, that’s human,” sports director Christoph Freund apologized. Darling his 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 gave an unnecessary pass to the poorly pressed Frans Krätzig, who wasted the ball.
The goal started the sensational knockout, and Tuchel said it openly: “(Kim’s) decision; Noted. Red.) It is certainly not good to play with Frans under all pressure. The French is cut. Min-jae then enters the duel, which is a 50/50 duel. He can also stand and push it away. This still happens to us all too often. “We take risks at times when it is not necessary.”
However, what Bavaria faces is also a risk, but the question is what is the alternative in the midst of a situation of staff shortages and an always tight schedule.
Kim: 80 hours between the China international match and the return of the Bundesliga
Kim will also be busy during the international break: on Thursday South Korea will have a World Cup qualifying match against Singapore in the capital, Seoul, and the following Tuesday they will also have an official match against China in Shenzen, more than 2,000 kilometers away. distance, less than 80. Hours later, on Friday night, the Bundesliga returns in Cologne.
If you add up all the flight kilometers of the trip, you get distances of about 20,000 kilometers.
The stress level is still high, something Kim probably won’t complain about. Note that in the FC Bayern presentation video he revealed that he used to climb hills on tires to go faster. And that he chose this sport because soccer “with its high intensity of running” would have been especially suitable for him.
And yet, at some point even a monster gets tired, and FC Bayern must, in its own interest, carefully consider when is the right time to give it the necessary rest.