In his first media interview since joining Bayern Munich, Kim Min-jae talks about the Korea tour, why he joined the club, and more.
“The Munich newcomer wants to be called by everyone,” German outlet Sport Bild reported on the 9th (KST).
“Kim joined Munich from Napoli this summer for €50 million (approximately $72.2 billion),” Sport Bild reported. In an interview with us, he explained how he wants to be called, what his start in Munich has been like and who his toughest opponents have been,” Sport Bild reported.
Kim was at his best in his debut season in Europe’s top five leagues, playing a key role in Napoli’s Italian Serie A title triumph in the 2022/23 season. His strong defensive performances were a key factor in Napoli winning the Serie A title for the first time in 33 years since the Diego Maradona era. Not only did he win the title, but he was also named Serie A’s Best 11 and then Serie A’s Best Defender.
His stellar performances have attracted interest from big European clubs. Napoli signed him for €50 million in the summer of 2022, with a buyout clause, and there were a number of clubs lining up to sign him this summer. Manchester United were initially linked with a move, but following the sale of key defender Luca Hernandez to PSG, Munich emerged as the frontrunners in the race to sign a replacement, and eventually succeeded in landing Kim after a courtship.
“I’m not satisfied yet. I’m not satisfied with my fitness level. I want and need to improve a lot. It’s good to have a lot of feedback from the outside. I am self-critical.”
He emphasised that a phone call from coach Thomas Tuchel was crucial in the process of his move to Munich. “The call was very decisive and I was very impressed. Tuchel spoke very positively about me. He knew everything about me and my game and told me inside out, but not only that. He also had a clear plan for me. It was very detailed. It gave me a great feeling, confidence and security,” said Kim, who spoke directly about how Tuchel convinced him to play.
“His thoughts on my game and my strengths were exactly the same as mine. It was an instant decision after talking to him,” he said, admitting that Tuchel’s recognition of his strengths and game was crucial to his move to Munich.
Kim was also asked about his upcoming tour of South Korea next summer. “I’ve never done a tour like this before. I think Japan is great, Singapore is beautiful. It would be a dream to tour Korea with the team. But for now, it’s important for me to play well in Munich so that I can get more attention,” he said, adding that his priority is to play well. Indeed, Paris Saint-Germain, who signed Lee Kang-in, another highly sought-after Korean player, added a stop in South Korea to their Asian tour, playing a match in Busan to the delight of Korean fans.
Speaking about the interest in the Bundesliga in Korea, Kim said, “I’ve always been interested because there were players like Cha Bum-geun, Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan,” adding, “I’m now aiming to draw attention to myself,” and emphasising that he aims to be loved for his performances like those before him.
Munich have been disappointing in recent years, reaching the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League in each of the last two years, but Kim remains confident in the team’s chances. “We have an obligation to focus on the Champions League. Munich has everything to win it. But I have to take it step by step and focus on the short term. I want to be in top form and win the next few games as a starter,” he said, revealing both his short- and long-term aspirations.
Meanwhile, Kim Min-jae has started three consecutive pre-season matches as Munich’s season gets underway with a huge amount of interest.
On the 23rd, Munich released the list of players on the Asia Tour roster on their official website, with Kim’s face on the main picture, confirming him as a key player on the Asia Tour. The team also released a noir-inspired poster for their upcoming tour of Japan, which once again featured Kim in a suit alongside Leon Goretzka, Joshua Kimmich and Serge Gnabry.
In a video released by the club’s official social media accounts showing the squad getting off the plane after arriving in Japan, Kim was one of the first to be seen, and his surprised expression was captured in a photo of him meeting fans in front of the hotel where the team will be staying in Tokyo.
It could be that he is the only Asian player currently at Munich, but it also shows that the club has high hopes for him and considers him an integral part of the team.
After the match, there was even more attention. Against Kawasaki, his first game in a Munich shirt, Kim showed off his defensive prowess in the 11th minute when he broke up a pass in the opposition half and dribbled directly into the space on the left side of the penalty area before sending a cross into the box, and again in the 29th minute when he was allowed to break through after the ball had slipped out of his grasp, he quickly caught up with the opposition striker to cut the ball off.
Tuchel told the press conference, “I am very satisfied. Today was Kim Min-jae’s first game, and he’s been training very hard and doing a great job,” he said, noting that it was a good performance for his first game.
After a solid performance against Kawasaki, Kim also scored an offensive point against Liverpool. In the 33rd minute, Kim sent a long pass from the back through the Liverpool defence to Gnabry. Gnabry received the ball, cut it back with the outside of his right foot, outpaced Matip and calmly slotted it into the back of the net with his right foot.
Tuchel showed his faith in the youngster against Liverpool as he did against Kawasaki: “It’s a very easy question,” he said in his pre-match press conference, when asked if new signings Kim Min-jae, Benjamin Pavard and Dayo Upamecano have the qualities to become the best central defenders in the world at Bayern Munich. The fact that the three defenders, including Kim Min-jae, have the talent to be world-class centre-backs is self-explanatory.
Their last game, against AS Monaco, was a bit of a disappointment, revealing that they still need to work on their fitness ahead of the start of the season.
After a promising start, Munich conceded the opening goal in the 28th minute due to a defensive error. Kim Min-jae’s pass to a fellow defender was intercepted by Monaco’s Russian striker Aleksandr Golovin and he fired home. Ulreich was fortunate to get a hand to the ball and keep it out of the net, but the hosts fell behind again on the ensuing possession, conceding in the 29th minute through Minamino’s left-footed shot from just outside the penalty area.
“His mistakes will be costly,” said German outlet AZ, giving him the lowest rating of five out of all the Munich players on the pitch against Monaco. Depending on the outlet, German media usually rate players on a scale of 1-5 or 1-6. The lower the number, the better the performance. Therefore, it seems that Kim Min-jae’s performance against Monaco was definitely disappointing.
However, as Kim has said himself, he is still not 100% fit and is still working on his teammates, so there is no reason to get carried away with one friendly. There is still time before the season opener, so Kim is still training hard to show his true colours.바카라
Munich will open the 2023/24 season in the German Bundesliga against Werder Bremen at 3.30pm on the 19th. Prior to the opener, the Bavarians will host last season’s DFB-Pokal champions RB Leipzig in the DFL-Supercup at 3.45pm on 13 March. Kim Min-jae is likely to make his official Munich debut in the Super Cup.
It will be interesting to see if he can shake off the disappointment of the last pre-season game and meet the expectations of the fans.