Bayern Munich’s center back line has been devastated, leaving only Kim Min-jae.
“De Ligt suffered a partial tear of the medial ligament in his right knee in the DFB-Pokal match against Saarbrücken,” the club announced on its website on November 2. This was confirmed by the medical department in Munich on February 2. He will therefore miss the next match.”
European soccer reporter Fabrizio Romano added: “De Ligt suffered an MCL injury (medial collateral ligament) and damage to the capsule of his right knee. De Ligt will be out of action for four to six weeks, according to Bild.” De Ligt’s departure is a huge blow for Bayern Munich and leaves them without a center back for the foreseeable future.
Before looking at the severity of De Ligt’s departure, it’s worth recapping Munich’s summer. Munich’s center back line consisted of Kim Min-jae, De Ligt, and Dayo Upamecano. It’s a great lineup on paper, but there are only three of them. With Luca Hernandez leaving for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Benjamin Pavard moving to Inter Milan, there was a shortage of numbers in the defense. Even with the arrival of Kim Min-jae, another defender should have been added to Munich’s squad, which has to compete in the German Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League (UCL), and DFB Pokal.
If one of Kim, De Ligt, or Upamecano were to get injured, they would have to play the entire tournament with only two players. There’s also the fact that all three players have starring roles in their respective national teams, but Munich didn’t make any additional signings. With Stanisic, whose main position is fullback but who can also play center back, it seemed like they weren’t going to sign him, but he surprised them by going on loan to Leverkusen.
In the end, things went wrong. De Ligt and Upamecano picked up injuries, Nusar Mazrawi and Bunasar were unreliable, and midfielder Konrad Reimer started at right fullback. Kim Min-jae was still struggling and De Ligt and Upamecano were not at full fitness. Reimer’s uneasiness shook the right side of the defense. The Bavarian fans were harshly critical of the decision to loan out Stanisic. The Bavarians made a number of signings, including Jerome Boateng and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, that fell through for various reasons. It got to the point where the Bavarians were even considering bringing Stanisic back early.
Unsurprisingly, Leverkusen refused. On October 31, Florian Plettenberg of Germany’s Sky Sports reported, “Munich want to bring Stanisic back to Leverkusen on loan in the winter. Leverkusen will not allow Stanisic to return to the club early. They are satisfied with his performances and will have to think about replacing Odilon Koscielny and Edmund Topsova at the Africa Cup of Nations next January.”
With Upamecano out injured, De Ligt is out. Upamecano’s status was first reported by Munich on October 11: “Upamecano is out for the time being after suffering a left hamstring muscle injury in the Bundesliga match against Freiburg on October 9. Matthijs de Ligt, on the other hand, is recovering. He was recently sidelined with a knee problem, but started training again on October 10.”
De Ligt went down, too. De Ligt was one of the best center backs in Europe at Ajax and Juventus. He was a solid starter alongside Upamecano before the arrival of Kim Min-jae, but he was often on the bench. In the early part of the season, even when he did start, he played as a defensive midfielder. This led to reports that De Ligt was unhappy with the situation. De Ligt seemed to turn things around when he and Kim Min-Jae started at center back against Bochum and even scored a goal. But an injury put his head down.
After his return, De Ligt said after the Mainz game, “It wasn’t an easy game. I had problems walking recently (due to a knee injury) and now I can play again. I didn’t play much before I came back from injury. I’m still not used to the tempo of the game. If I had a good rhythm, I wouldn’t have gotten the yellow card. I was able to recover through today’s game,” he said of his situation. He also talked about how it felt to share the starting lineup with Kim Min-Jae for the second consecutive match. “We had a good game,” De Ligt said. He has the ability to work well with me, and the more he plays, the better (the chemistry) will be,” he said.
Kim Min-jae, Der Licht line up to face Saarbrücken. Bad news struck early for Munich. In the 18th minute, De Ligt made a tackle on a Fabio Di Michele Sanchez cross. The two players tangled, and Sanchez fell into De Ligt’s lap. De Ligt immediately signaled for a substitution, clutching his right knee in pain. Reimer was eventually brought on, and De Ligt exited the field.
The match ended in a 1-2 shock loss for Munich. In the first minute of first-half stoppage time, with the score at 1-0, Kim Min-jae made a mistake. Kim played a pass to Krejci in the middle of the field. However, his pace was off, and the ball was stolen by a player pressing from behind. On the ensuing play, Kim tried to tackle Lukas Böder but couldn’t make contact, allowing Patrik Zontheimer to slide the ball home. Munich conceded in stoppage time. In the sixth minute of second-half stoppage time, Tim Cibeza sent in a cross from the right flank, and Marcel Gauss found the back of the net with a powerful shot, falling victim to a giant-killing.
After the game, the German ‘Bild’ gave most of the Munich players low ratings. The ratings range from 1 to 6, with the lower the better. Along with Davies, Kim Min-jae received the lowest rating of 6. The rest of the players were rated between 4 and 5, with only De Ligt, who had to be substituted midway through the game due to injury, rated as high as 3. Regarding Munich’s first goal, Germany’s SPOX said, “Kimmich played a crucial role in Munich’s elimination from the cup competition. He made a sloppy pass to Kroosch and conceded the goal.” Tuchel added: “It was obviously not a good decision to pass when Krechtich was completely under pressure. He then entered a 50-50 contest. He could have held on and pushed it away.”
While it’s true that Kim was shaky, you have to consider that he was playing without a professional center back partner and that he was overworked. In the meantime, Kim performed well under pressure. He has been praised for his performance. On October 14, global media outlet ESPN highlighted the best soccer players of their age group. Ramin Yamal (16), Warren Zaire-Emericka (17), Evan Ferguson (18), Pablo Gabi (19), and Jude Bellingham (20) were mentioned one after another, as well as Yossouko Gvardiol (21), Buchayo Sakho (22), Elling Holland (23), Kylian Mbappe (24), and Trent Alexander-Arnold (25).
Surprisingly, the 26-year-old representative was Kim Min-jae, who, according to ESPN, “is in his second season in the Big 5. He’s done better than Frankie the Dragon and Nicolo Varela and has the potential to be the best center back in the world in the next five years.” After Kim, Rodri (27), Joshua Kimmich (28), Bruno Fernandez (29), Harry Kane (30), Mohamed Salah (31), Kevin De Bruyne (32), Kieran Trippier (33), Dani Parejo (34), Robert Lewandowski (35), and Lionel Messi (36) were mentioned.
Sport360, a specialized sports media outlet, named its best eleven players from continents other than Europe. Among them was Kim Min-jae. Kim was listed alongside Vinicius Junior (Brazil), Victor Osimhen (Nigeria), Salah (Egypt), Messi, Enzo Fernandez (Argentina), Federico Valverde (Uruguay), Alfonso Davies (Canada), Ronald Araujo (Uruguay), Ashraf Hakimi (Morocco), and Alisson Becker (Brazil).
No. 2 center back in the world On October 24, France’s 90min ranked the top 10 center backs in the world, and Kim was ranked above Ibrahima Konate (Liverpool), David Alaba (Real Madrid), Luca Hernandez (Paris Saint-Germain), Araujo (Barcelona), Gervinho (Manchester City), Éder Militant (Real Madrid), and John Stones (Manchester City). The publication concluded, “Kim Min-jae was perfect as a center back for Napoli. His speed, strength, and power were overwhelming. He has the ability to beat attackers in any contested situation and has great vision. He has great strengths. He is the leader of Korea and Munich at the moment.” First place went to Naby Dias (Manchester City).
He was also nominated for the Ballon d’Or, the most prestigious individual award in soccer. Kim Min-jae is the fourth player in Korean League history to be nominated for the Ballon d’Or. He follows Seol Ki-hyun (2002, Anderlecht), Park Ji-sung (2005, Manchester United), and Son Heung-min (2019, 2022, Tottenham Hotspur). It comes just two years after he made his European debut with Fenerbahçe in 2021. He is also the first Asian defender ever to do so.
It’s great to see a defender nominated who isn’t Korean or Asian. The Ballon d’Or is based on performance, from nominations to winners, so it’s inevitable that it will favor those who score a lot of goals or play in highly visible positions. By comparison, defenders get less attention. This is even more true for center backs, but Kim Min-jae is a worthy nominee. His performance for Napoli and the South Korean national team proves just how good he is.
His final ranking was 22nd. He was first among center backs, with Gvardiol at 25th and Diaz at 30th. Randall Kolo Moani, Martin Ødegaard, Nicolo Varela, Jamal Moussaoui, Xhaka, and Andre Onana were below him. It’s also significant that he earned Ballon d’Or points as a center back. The only other Asian players to earn points on the 30-man Ballon d’Or shortlist were Son Heung-min in 2019 and 2022 and Iraq’s Younis Mahmoud in 2007.
Add to that the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) International Player of the Year award. The AFC held the 2022 AFC Awards on October 31 in Doha, Qatar. At the ceremony, Kim was honored with the AFC International Player of the Year award, which is given to the player who has performed the best overseas. The AFC said: “Kim capped an extraordinary season by leading SSC Napoli to their first Italian Serie A title since 1990. His stock skyrocketed in 2021 when he joined Turkkiye Fenerbahçe from Beijing Guoan in the Chinese Super League,” said the AFC, highlighting his achievements.
Kim’s performances for the South Korean national team were not forgotten. “Kim played a key role in the Taegeuk Warriors’ qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, their 10th consecutive World Cup appearance. South Korea reached the round of 16 with a 2-1 upset win over Portugal. Kim started three of the four games.”
Finally, “Kim has since finalized a move to German Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. He was the only Asian player on the shortlist for the 2023 Men’s Ballon d’Or.” This is the second time a South Korean player has won the AFC International Player of the Year award. Previously, Son Heung-min won the award in 2015, 2017 and 2019. Kim beat off competition from Mehdi Taremi (Iran) and Kaoru Mitoma (Japan) to win the award for the first time in his career.
Embarrassing Rotaer Matthaeus for voicing criticism. Speaking to Sky Sports in Germany, the Munich and Germany legend pointed to the Munich defense and said, “Kim is not as good as we expected. He is an element of uncertainty for Munich. He’s used to playing a different way of soccer than we do. It’s not a negative that we signed him, but he needs to get used to the Bundesliga. He was really good in Italy, but he’s not living up to expectations.”
Since Mateusz’s criticism, Kim has been at his best defensively. In the UEFA Champions League (UCL) against Copenhagen, Kim made five clears, one shot block, three interceptions, one tackle, 50% of ground battles (2 attempts – 1 successful), and 71% of aerial battles (7 attempts – 5 successful). Under his feet, he was also excellent. 92% pass success (99 attempts – 91 successful), 67% long ball success (12 attempts – 8 successful), and 1 key pass. The heatmap shows that he covered a wide area from the doorway to the halfway line.
Against Freiburg, Kim Min-jae showed an incredible defensive performance. Just as impressive as his defense was his buildup. Kim had 180 touches of the ball, a 92% passing success rate, 2 successful long passes (7 attempts), and 1 key pass. After the game, soccer statistics outlet OPTA highlighted Kim’s buildup skills. “Kim made 171 passes against Freiburg. This is the most passes in a single game in the Bundesliga since Aleksandar Dragovic made 178 against Düsseldorf in February 2019 for Leverkusen.” In the other games that followed, Kim was at his best.
In the buildup from the back, Kim Min-jae was the center of attention, mostly attempting forward passes to open up the offense. His defense was also excellent. He made three interceptions, two tackles, and won 100% of his aerial balls (8 attempts, 8 wins). Thanks to Kim’s performance, Munich kept a clean sheet and maintained a steady flow, harassing Freiburg and eventually earning the win. With the injury situation in Munich’s defense, as well as his improved performance, Kim’s importance is only getting better. His performance in the A-Match was one of the best of the tournament, cementing his status as Asia’s number one.
On October 15, German outlet Bavarian Football reported, “Thomas Tuchel is using Kim Min-jae and Dayo Upamecano as his starting center back combination. Luca Hernandez has left and Matthias der Licht is injured. We tried to sign Jerome Boateng, but it didn’t work out. Upamecano is also out with an injury. Kim Min-Jae will be the only mainstay of the Munich defense. But there’s no need to worry. He’s improving every week. Director of football Christoph Proint confirmed this. ‘The Napoli signing is developing into an invaluable player for Munich. Off the pitch, he has a great personality. He is getting better and better and is a good person who is completely focused on football, training and work. “He was criticized by Matthäus, who said that he was ‘lucky to have him’. He said he wasn’t living up to expectations, but internally it’s a completely different feeling. I think he’s doing better than Mateusz thinks and he’s contributed to the three clean sheets we’ve kept.” 아톰카지노 주소
After rising above the Mateus criticism, Kim Min-jae is facing criticism again.He will try to silence the critics again.De Ligt’s injury will keep him on the bench for a while, and a non-professional center back will be playing.It’s not good for Munich and it’s not good for Kim Min-jae.
According to Germany’s Bild, “De Ligt could be out for up to six weeks.There is also talk that he could be out for eight weeks. That means we won’t see him play for Munich this year.It’s a big blow ahead of the der Klassiker against Dortmund.Tuchel only has Kim Min-Jae at center back.Whether or not he’ll be back in the Upamecano is still up in the air.”
“If Upamecano doesn’t come back, we should use Kimmich as a partner for Kim Min-jae,” he said.Kimmich is a core Munich midfielder who, like Philipp Lahm, started at right-back before moving into central midfield.His football intelligence and build-up play are among the best in the game, but playing center back is a different matter.His physicality, defensive positioning, and chemistry with Kim Min-jae could all be problematic. The complacency of the summer has turned into a giant snowball that is about to hit Munich.With a der Klassiker against Dortmund next up, Munich’s worries are growing.