Kim Min-jae, the ‘Iron Pillar of Korea’, played full-time for the 15th consecutive game as his club, Germany’s top-ranked Bayern Munich, defeated FC Koln to move to the top of the Bundesliga.
Thomas Tuchel’s men earned a 1-0 victory over FC Köln in the 12th round of the 2023/24 German Bundesliga at the Rhein-Energie Stadion in Cologne, Germany, on Friday (Sept. 25) with a Harry Kane strike.
The victory was Munich’s fifth straight this season and moved them to 10 wins and two draws (32 points), ahead of Bayer Leverkusen (31 points), who have yet to play a round 12 match.
However, if Leverkusen wins the Bayer Leverkusen-Werder Bremen match at 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 25, Munich will drop back to second place.
Cologne dropped to the bottom of the 18-team table with just six points. If they maintain this position, relegation is inevitable.
Munich will host Copenhagen in Denmark on Oct. 30 in the fifth leg of their UEFA Champions League Group A tie.
However, the Bavarians have already clinched a spot in the round of 16 and top spot in Group A with four straight wins, so they can focus on the Bundesliga for now.
Munich center back Kim Min-jae started the game again and played the full 90 minutes to help his side keep a clean sheet.
He has now played the full 90 minutes in 15 consecutive matches in all competitions, including the Bundesliga, Champions League, and DFB-Pokal.
Kim’s breakout season has already created quite a buzz in Germany.
After playing against China in the second Group C match of the 2026 North American Football Confederations Cup Asia Second Qualifying Round at the Universiade Sports Center in Shenzhen, China, on Nov. 21, Kim traveled to Germany to face the Chinese in a seven-hour time difference just three days later.
Coach Tuchel was aware of this and mentioned Kim Min-jae in his pre-match press conference against Cologne.
“It’s probably because of the TV rights, it’s the second Friday game (this season),” he said of the relatively early start on a Friday night.
Kim Min-jae and Alfonso Davies have just returned from their travels.
It’s a very unfortunate schedule, but it shouldn’t be an excuse,” he said. “
We chose a short trip on Friday morning so that the players could sleep at home.”
Normally, away games are played the day before, but some players, like Kim Min-jae, arrived on Thursday the 23rd, meaning they had a day off at home and chose to fly to Cologne the morning of the game.
“I don’t think he knows where he is right now,” said Tuchel, sympathizing with the Munich defenders as they struggle with injuries.
◆Min Jae Kim has started 15 consecutive games and is a Munich constant
Kim Min-jae was joined at center back by France international Dayo Upamecano, who recently returned from injury. 토토
Tuchel put Manuel Neuer in goal, who recently got remarried after a long injury layoff.
The back four included, from left to right, Nusair Mazrawi, Kim Min-jae, Upamecano, and Konrad Reimer.
The two defensive midfielders were Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich.
The three secondary strikers are Kingsley Coman, Eric Choupo-Moting, and Leroy Sane. Up top, as expected, was Harry Kane.
Cologne started Marvin Schwabbe in goal, with Julian Cabot, Luca Killian, Timo Hubers, and Rasmus Carstensen in the back four. Dejan Ljubicic and Erik Martel started in the defensive midfield.
Linton Maina, Florian Keintz, and Jan Dillemann formed the second line, with Davy Zelke up top.
A unique feature of the Munich lineup was the return of Cameroon international striker Choupo-Moting to the starting lineup for the first time in two months against Bochum on September 23, after impressing in the previous match against Heidenheim, including scoring his second goal of the season.
Kim Min-jae’s pain, Kane’s first goal
As expected, the game was a one-sided affair with Munich outplaying their opponents by a goal or two.
The hosts were denied an early lead in the seventh minute when Kane’s right-footed shot from in front of goal was saved by Schwabe.
The Bavarians were then dealt a blow when Kim Min-jae went down with a painful injury to his chest.
He jumped to meet a long ball from the back in the 14th minute and was pushed down heavily by Linton, the home side’s second-choice striker.
Kim screamed in pain for a while before getting up and touching his back to inspect the injury.
Luckily, he was able to get up and walked off the field.
Munich opened the scoring in the 20th minute to take the lead.
At the center of it all was world-class striker Kane. After Munich intercepted a Linton ball on the counterattack, Sane, who had the ball on the left side of the penalty area, fired a diagonal right-footed shot. Schweinsteiger’s reflexes cleared it away, but the ball landed perfectly in front of Kane on the other side. Kane was able to get the ball on his right foot, and it ended up being a goal.
The goal took Kane’s tally to 18 goals in 12 Bundesliga games, a staggering 1.5 goals per game.
Add in the Champions League, and that’s 22 goals in 16 games.
Munich continued to attack Cologne in the second half in search of a second goal. In the 22nd minute, Choupo-Moting fired a right-footed shot that was saved by the goalkeeper, and in the 28th minute, Sané tried his luck with a right-footed shot after a pass from Choupo-Moting that went wide of the left post and hit the ground.
In the 42nd minute, Coman unleashed a right-footed shot that was again saved by Schwabe.
If not for Schwabe, Cologne would have been two or three goals down in the first half.
Bad luck with the goalposts: Munich settle for a 1-0 win in the end
There was even talk of the first snowfall of the winter on the pitch.
However, it didn’t, and midway through the first half, the rain came down in torrents, adding to the players’ fatigue.
As a reflection of this, Munich started the second half with less intensity and fewer shots on goal.
Kane’s header from a left-footed cross from the left flank by Mazrawi in the 29th minute was the first impressive effort of the second half, but it was well wide of the target.
In the 32nd minute, Coman’s right-footed cross from the left side of the penalty area was met by winger Sane on the other side of the box with a diagonal left-footed shot, but he again failed to connect with the goal. Schweinsteiger continued to read the movements of the Munich attackers well in the second half, keeping the score at 0-1.
In the 33rd minute, he even had a shot on target. On a corner kick, Goretzka headed back from close to the penalty area and Coman redirected the ball back to him, but his shot hit the crossbar.
In the 40th minute, there was a close call on a goal kick when Kim Min-jae exchanged passes with Neuer twice, but the ball was long enough for Neuer to fall under pressure and pass to the other side.
With three minutes of second-half stoppage time, Cologne pushed hard for an equalizer in front of a one-sided home crowd, but they were unable to break through the defense of Kim Min-jae and Upamecano, and Munich held on for a 1-0 win to take the lead despite a lackluster performance.
Kane’s goal proved to be the final and only goal of the game.
◆Full time for all 11 starters… Kim Min-jae finally rested against Copenhagen
Tuchel didn’t make a single substitution on this day, despite the rain pouring down on the pitch and the many twists and turns of the game, including a fall by Kim Min-jae, Tuchel didn’t budge and kept his starting eleven on the pitch until the final whistle.
This will likely signal the arrival of backup players for the midweek Champions League match against Copenhagen.
Munich has already clinched a spot in the Champions League round of 16, so there’s no reason to play the starters in the remaining two group games.
With Leverkusen at the top of the table, the emphasis will be on the three Bundesliga games before the end of the first half – against Union Berlin, Eintracht Frankfurt, and Stuttgart.
Kim Min-jae, who carried on with his responsibilities despite a nasty injury, received a 7.5 rating from soccer stats site Footmob. Coman, who was all over the pitch in Munich, was the highest-rated player with an 8.3 rating.
His center-back partner Upamecano was next, followed by Kane, who scored the winning goal, at 8.0, and Goretzka, who dominated the midfield, at 7.9.
While not at the top of the ratings, Kim’s rating isn’t all that bad as the entire Munich squad was rated in the 7s on the day.
On HootScore.com, Kim scored a 7.3. No other player scored significantly higher overall, perhaps due to Munich’s poor performance, with Kompany earning the highest rating of 7.9.
Upamecano and Sane scored 7.7 and Kane 7.5.
It will be interesting to see if Tuchel rests Kim Min-Jae against Copenhagen on Sept. 30.
It would be a big mistake for Munich to play their starters and then suffer an injury, so there’s a good chance they’ll rest him while bringing in a bunch of reserves or youngsters.