Kim Min-jae has opened up about the phone call with Thomas Tuchel that was crucial to his decision to join Bayern Munich.

Kim enjoyed a breakout season in his debut campaign in Europe’s top five leagues, playing a key role in Napoli’s Italian Serie A title win in the 2022/23 season. After breaking into the European scene in 2021 with a move to Turkkiye Fenerbahçe from Beijing Guoan in China, Kim moved to Napoli a year later, where he developed into a world-class defender on his big league debut.

His strong defensive play helped Napoli win 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.

After his stellar performance, the big clubs in Europe weren’t going to leave him alone. Napoli signed a €50 million ($70 billion) buyout clause in the summer of 2022, and clubs were lining up to sign him this summer. Initially, a move to Manchester United was rumored, but Munich, which transferred its main defender Luca Hernandez to PSG in France, used the money to join the battle for Kim Min-jae and succeeded in bringing him back.

In the meantime, Kim has spoken out about the phone call with Tuchel, which was crucial in his decision to join Munich.

“Kim Min-jae revealed an interesting story in his first interview,” German media outlet Sport Bild reported on Sept. 9 (KST).

“Kim joined Munich from Napoli this summer,” Sport Bild reported. In an interview with Sport Bild, he talked about his toughest opponents, his start in Munich, and more.”

According to reports, Kim spoke about his call with Tuchel in the interview, saying, “The call was very decisive and moving. Coach Tuchel spoke very positively about me. He knew everything about me and my game and told me inside out, and not only that, he had a clear plan for me. It was very detailed. It gave me a great feeling, confidence and stability,” said Tuchel himself, revealing what the coach told him on the phone before his move to Munich.

“His thoughts on my game and my strengths were exactly the same as mine. It was an instant decision,” he said, admitting that Tuchel’s recognition of his strengths and game was crucial to his decision to move to Munich.

In fact, Kim Min-jae was reportedly a player Tuchel really wanted at the time of his move to Munich. German media outlet Tak 24 also reported that “Munich has completed the transfer of Kim Min-jae, the only thing missing is an official announcement. Kim will replace Hernandez and form the core of the defense alongside Matthias Düricht and Dayot Upamecano. Tuchel praised the signing of Kim, saying, “We got our dream player for the center back position in Kim Min-jae.

Kim also talked about his recent performances, including military training and his most difficult opponents. “Military training is not suitable for the physical condition of athletes. I was behind the other players after the training. But I’m making the right preparations. I want to be in the same shape for the opening match against Breven,” he said, adding that he is still struggling with his physical condition after the training, but hopes to be fully ready for the opening match.

The most difficult opponent he has faced is Olivier Giroud, a former Serie A opponent. “Giroud is strong, has a great header and is intelligent. He can pass and he can score goals.”

On Munich’s chances of winning the Champions League this season, he says: “As a Munich player, I have an obligation to focus on the Champions League. The club has everything to win it. But you also have to think about the short term step by step. I want to be in the best possible shape and win the early games as a starter,” he said of his short-term goals for the season, including winning the Champions League.

Meanwhile, Kim Min-jae has started three consecutive preseason games to improve his game ahead of the start of Munich’s next campaign.

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 opponent’s half and dribbled directly into the space on the left side of the penalty box before sending a cross into the box, and in the 29th minute when he was allowed to break through as the ball was being cleared, he quickly caught up to the opposing striker and cleared the ball off the line.

Coach Tuchel said at 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,” Tuchel said, noting that it was a good performance for his first game 안전놀이터.

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 defense 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 the 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 these three defenders have the talent to be world-class center backs is self-explanatory.

“Of course we have four great center backs,” said Düricht, who also participated in the pre-match press conference, “and if they weren’t great, they wouldn’t be playing for this big club.”

“I think we played a good game and I’m happy with it. We played a good team and we could see that. It was not an easy game against a good team, and it was good to see the new players cooperating and adapting well,” he said, praising Kim’s cooperation and adaptation.

However, their last match against AS Monaco left a bit to be desired, and they will need to be more focused in their season opener.

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, who fired a shot on goal. 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 to Minamino’s left-footed shot from just inside the penalty area.

“His mistakes will be costly,” said German outlet AZ, which gave him the lowest rating of five out of all the Munich players who played against Monaco. Depending on the outlet, German media usually rate players on a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 6. The lower the number, the better the performance. Therefore, it seems that Kim Min-jae’s performance against Monaco was definitely disappointing.

Kim is still not fully fit, so there’s a good chance that his mistakes in the preseason won’t carry over to the regular season.

With the DFL-Supercup against RB Leipzig set for a 3:45 p.m. kickoff on Sept. 13, Munich fans will be eager to see if Kim can make up for his Monaco performance and live up to the strengths and expectations Tuchel outlined in his phone call.

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