“Even if Kim Min-jae returns, my goal is to play for Bayern Munich.”
Defender Matthias Der Licht (24, Munich), who has recently been linked with a move to Manchester United, has indirectly dismissed a move to the Red Devils. He also implied that he wants to compete properly with Kim Min-jae.
Der Licht made his full debut in the Bundesliga’s 18th round home match of the 2023-2024 season against Werder Bremen at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, on Aug. 22. The team suffered a shock 0-1 defeat. The defensive line around him was shaky.
The result left Munich in second place with 13 wins, two draws, and 41 points. They failed to close the gap on first-place Leverkusen (48 points), which has played one more game. Bremen is 13th with 5 wins, 5 draws, 8 losses, and 20 points.
Kim Min-jae is currently away from Munich due to his call-up to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) 2023 Asian Cup in Qatar. He will be away until early next month should South Korea reach the final. Dayo Upamecano and Matthias Der Licht were the central defenders against the Bremen attackers.
To make matters worse for the Bavarians, who were unexpectedly beaten by a mid-table team, the game-winner came 14 minutes into the second half. Bremen midfielder Mitchell Weisser picked off Munich flanker Alfonso Davies in the box before ripping a left-footed shot into the net. The Munich defense completely failed to contain him.
With nothing to play for at home, Munich poured on the pressure until the final whistle, but the equalizer never came.
According to statistician Soccer24, the Bavarians had 21 shots on goal in the entire first half. Only six of them were on target. None of them resulted in a goal.
Bremen fired off eight shots, sending three on target, and scored one goal to take the three points.
The scoreless defeat ended Munich’s 65-match home unbeaten run.
After the game, Der Licht was asked about rumors of a move to Manchester United.
On May 20, Germany’s Sky Sports reported, “Der Licht could consider a summer move. Manchester United are monitoring his situation.”
Der Licht left Italian Serie A side Juventus last season to join the Bavarian giants, where he immediately established himself as a first-choice center back. He was a regular starter under Julian Nagelsmann. When Thomas Tuchel took over during the season, his position was solidified. He played 43 games last season, including cup competitions.
However, with the arrival of Kim Min-jae to Munich this season, Der Licht’s role has diminished significantly. Injuries have kept him out of the game, while Kim Min-jae has established himself as the first-choice center back.
Last month, Bavarian Football also wrote: “A defensive leader should be a player who can coordinate the defense in addition to his normal defensive duties. Der Licht fits the bill, but Tuchel was not impressed with his ability to make vertical passes from the back,” explaining why it wouldn’t be surprising to see Der Licht leave.
Der Licht has made just 10 league appearances (1 goal) this season.
“Even if Kim returns to the team after the Asian Cup, my goal is to be in the Munich first team,” Der Licht said after the game against Bremen, according to Sky Sports, shaking his head at transfer speculation, adding, “That’s probably every player’s dream. The most important thing for me is to train well every day and stay injury-free,” he said in a bid to stay in the first team.