Even for a club with a roster as stacked as Bayern Munich, losing a key player to injury takes a huge toll on the team.
No matter who you can throw in as a replacement, losing Joshua Kimmich is a significant blow and makes life extremely difficult for Bayern. The German was substituted after 36 minutes during their Klassiker victory over Borussia Dortmund at the weekend and has since undergone knee surgery, ruling him out for around two months.
Since joining Bayern in 2015, Kimmich has quietly developed into one of the most technically sound players in Europe. Versatility is key to thriving in Hansi Flick's rejuvenated Bayern side in order to chop and change seamlessly, and while losing Kimmich hurts that rotational style, it's the perfect excuse to get Corentin Tolisso back in the starting XI and let him reintroduce himself to fans as a key player.
Tolisso stepped in when Kimmich went off at the weekend and played a mostly sound game, thrown into a Klassiker where stakes are always high, but the hard work starts again now for the Frenchman.
The 26-year-old hasn't quite made the expected impact since arriving in a £35.2m deal in 2017, which is disappointing when considering just how highly he was rated upon leaving Lyon. Largely used in rotation, Tolisso was one of many who suffered under the tutelage of Niko Kovac and has found a more distinguished role from the bench under Flick, but he now has two months or so to prove he can be more than that for Die Roten.
But it's not going to be a walk in the park.
The German plays a vitally important role in Bayern's relentless pressing system. In the double pivot, he sits next to Leon Goretzka and uses his anticipation to screen play and break down any opposition counter attacks with sharp tackling, while leading the transition and linking defence to attack with his impressive passing skills.
Kimmich's stats from Bayern's incredible 2019/20 campaign tell us all we need to know about his importance. He averaged 90.1% pass success in the Bundesliga, making 77.2 passes per game, 5.8 long balls per game and 2.3 key passes on average. He finished the season with 17 assists in all competitions and chipped in going forward with seven goals, too. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Bayern's dominance can't happen without the brilliance of the 25-year-old, whose consistent passing range is nothing short of incredible.
'Doing the dirty work' would be doing him no justice, as what he does for his side is pure brilliance. He allows Flick to get the best out of Leon Goretzka's physicality and can fill in at the back if needed. Tolisso can't quite offer this versatility, but there's no doubt he can step up to the plate with creative control with regular game time.
Coming into the starting XI, Tolisso will slot into the defensive midfield position alongside Goretzka in the double pivot, where he'll be tasked with linking together the transition and providing a creative outlet from deep. Bayern were starved of all creativity under Kovac, whose three man midfield tactics failed to get the best out of any of his midfielders, Tolisso included.
Now, though, Tolisso will occupy a more comfortable role with attackers to aim at, with forwards holding central areas between the lines. With Tolisso's eye for the key pass and ability to actually pull off the Hollywood ball, all the tools are in place for him to seamlessly slot into the starting XI and never look back.
Should Tolisso be the success he can be, there's no reason why he can't retain his place in the side. Bayern have shown versatility and intelligence under Flick, so finding a new role for Kimmich wouldn't be a difficult job. Be it slotting him into defence - one key weakness that still remains - or reverting him back to his old right back role, Kimmich will thrive just about anywhere on the pitch.
His injury gives Tolisso a chance to thrive and a sink or swim opportunity. Sure, being a rotation option for the best team in Europe isn't bad, but the France international is too good to be warming the bench and needs to prove his worth once more.
At 26 years old, Tolisso is about to enter his best years; they can't be wasted by being clouded with uncertainty and cameo appearances.