Kim Min-jae, who also started, made a mistake that led to a goal after a good defensive performance, leading to a low rating.
Bayern Munich defeated Heidenheim 3-2 in the 11th round of the 2023-24 German Bundesliga at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany at 11:30 p.m. on Nov. 11. With the win, Munich (29 points) extended its unbeaten streak to 11 games and jumped to the top of the standings.
Once again, Kim Min-jae was named to the starting lineup. With a thin squad, Munich utilized a partial rotation. They went with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Harry Kane was in charge up top. Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, and Leroy Sane provided support in the second line. Aleksandar Pavlovic and Konrad Leiber were in the midfield. The back four was Nusair Mazrawi, Kim Min-jae, Dayo Upamecano, and Buna Sar. Manuel Neuer was in goal.
The visitors from Heidenheim lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Timm Kleindienst leading the line and Jan Niklas Veste, Norman Turjekau, Jan Söfner, and Ehren Dinke looking to score. Jonas Fohrenbach, Benedikt Gimber, Patrik Mainka, and Omar Haktab Traore formed the defense alongside Leonard Maloney. Kevin Muller wore the goalkeeping gloves.레모나토토
Munich still has defensive issues. After signing Kim Min-jae and letting go of Luca Hernandez, Benjamin Pavard, and Josip Stanisic (on loan), the Bavarians are still struggling at the back. Kim Min-jae, Dayo Upamecano, and Matthijs de Ligt are great on paper, but if one of them gets injured, the pressure is on the other two to play every game. The problem was exacerbated at the start of the season when Upamecano and De Ligt were both injured.
The Munich board’s decision to send Stanisic away has been criticized. Stanisic is a BVB youth product and has been used as a rotation player. As mentioned earlier, he can play fullback as well as center back, making him a good option for the entire defense. However, Munich decided to send him out on loan. Even if it was for the sake of the player”s development, it didn”t make sense given the team”s current situation.
The Munich fans were very critical of the decision to send Stanisic out on loan. 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 on loan early. It seems unlikely that Leverkusen will allow it. According to Florian Plettenberg of Sky Sports in Germany, “Leverkusen will not allow Stanisic to return early. They are happy with his performances and will have to think about replacing Odilon Koscielny and Edmund Topsova, who are going to the Africa Cup of Nations next January.” Munich will have to wait until the winter transfer window. They need to make some signings in the winter transfer window.
Luckily, Kim Min-jae has been in good form. He’s been in torrid form, starting every game, and he’s been steady and solid at the back. He was also accurate and sharp in the buildup to the game. The accolades followed.
He was named the second best center back in the world. On October 24, France’s “90min” ranked the top 10 center backs in the world, with 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. His strengths are incredible. 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.
The fact that a defender of Korean or Asian descent was nominated was also remarkable. The Ballon d’Or is based on performance, from nominations to winners, so it’s inevitable that players who score a lot of goals or play in high-profile positions will be recognized. 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 soared in 2021 when he moved from Beijing Guoan to Fenerbahçe 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.
He partnered Upamecano in the decider to deny Fulkruk, and was equally steady when Upamecano was withdrawn in the second half to form a back three with Goretzka and Mazurawi. According to Sofascore, the full-time performer had a 91% pass completion rate, 2 aerial contests (out of 2), 3 ground contests (out of 4), 5 clearances, 2 blocks, and 3 tackles. Couchscore gave him a 7.5 rating, the second-highest among the defensive line after Upamecano, who scored the first goal, and football statistics outlet Footmob also recognized his performance with a 7.5 rating.
The German media praised Kim’s performance, but not as highly. “A few hours before kickoff, Kim was the only healthy center back for Munich. Fortunately, Upamecano was his partner. Together with Neuer, he sent long passes from the back and was almost responsible for the defense from behind” and gave him a rating of 3. The lower the rating, the better the performance for Germany. Mazrawi, who played alongside him in the defense, was rated a 3, Upamecano a 2, and Davies a 4.
Germany’s Sky Sports gave Kim a 3 rating, saying, “Together with Upamecano, he completely shut down Fölkruk. Stable and well-positioned in contested situations, the ‘Monster’ cleared away attacks from Royce and Brandt early in the second half.” The German publication Bild didn’t seem to let his performance go unnoticed this time either, giving him three points for his performance against Mainz in the 8th round of the UEFA Champions League (UCL), where he had a 100% pass completion rate and a stellar defense, and three points for his performance against Galatasaray in the UEFA Champions League (UCL), where he practically played “solitary defense”.
Again, three points. Of course, this was a big win for Bayern, so no one on the team was rated 4 or 5, but Davies, Mazurawi, Neuer, Reimer, and Coman were all rated 3, which is on the lower end of the spectrum, along with Kim Min-jae. I’m notorious for giving harsh ratings to defenders, but I feel like I’m even harsher on Kim Min-jae. While ratings aren’t everything, it’s a shame that Kim’s performance isn’t being recognized.
Upamecano is back after De Ligt’s injury, but he’s not fully fit. Upamecano is suffering from a hamstring injury, known locally in Germany as the Arjen Robben injury. Even when he starts, he only plays 60 to 70 minutes. When he does play, he’s doing well. In the UCL games against Dortmund, Der Klassiker, and Galatasaray, he was brilliant, but everyone was worried because they didn’t know when he would go down.
Thomas Tuchel was no different. After the last match against Galatasaray, Tuchel said, “The doctors made it clear that Upamecano is not yet ready to play every three days. Every time he sprinted in the second half, my heart almost stopped. It’s still early, but he played really well. I can’t say yet if he will play against Heidenheim this weekend. We’ll have to wait until Friday or Saturday to see how tired the Upamecano’s muscles and the player are.”