As the season draws to a close, Alphonso Davies looks to cement himself as a key player in the future plans of Bayern Munich. The 18-year-old winger, highlighted his versatility against Mainz, featuring as a left back and on the left and right wing. The young Canadian looked more comfortable among his veteran teammates, as he picked up an historic first goal that made him the first player born in this century to find the back of the net for the Bavarian giants.
Alphonso Davies!— DW Sports (@dw_sports) March 17, 2019
✅ First ever goal for Bayern Munich
✅ First ever Canadian goalscorer for Bayern
✅ Youngest Bayern goalscorer (18) in 20 years
✅ First Canadian goalscorer in the Bundesliga since 2013 (Marcel de Jong)
@AlphonsoDavies #FCBM05 pic.twitter.com/TqjL5hVluk
The goal was not the only promising aspect of his 35-minute cameo. The former Vancouver Whitecaps prospect displayed a defensive work rate and confidence in possession, in addition to energy, flair, and instincts.
Let’s take a closer look at the future of the Bayern attack.
In the first clip, Davies shows off good closing speed and defensive awareness to block a Mainz cross. His brief cameo at left back was promising as a last ditch option in the case of an injury crisis. The youngster was clearly hesitant to push forward for fear of being caught out and he relied on conservative passing as a part of the back four. The most significant aspect of this clip, however, is the fact that it highlights the Canadian’s work rate and energy, regardless of position. These skills will be vital when Bayern seek to press the opponent in the opposition half.
Now, it’s time to get to the good stuff. Davies put in an energetic and confident shift in attack. He clearly relied more on instinct rather than overthinking his each and every move as he has appeared to do in previous performances. His growing comfort at this level is a joy to behold.
This is probably best exemplified by his goal, which actually came as a left back. He ventured into the box as Bayern exercised a strangle hold on possession and pounced as Robert Lewandowski’s shot was deflected centrally. Instinct takes over as his cool demeanor in traffic allows him to slot the ball into the top right corner.
On a totally irrelevant note, how about that pass from Niklas Sule to kick off the goal scoring sequence?!?
Although the goal was a poacher’s effort, it clearly boosted his confidence throughout the match. Shortly after moving into the attacking third with the substitution of Rafinha, Davies flexed his creative muscles, leaving a Mainz defender in the dust with a cheeky nutmeg and making a run in behind. Lewy is able to hold up the ball, but opts not to play Davies through who looked to be clear on goal. In fairness to the Polish striker, he likely made the right decision in order to retain possession, but the pace and skill utilized by the young winger must have Lewandowski excited for the future.
Just minutes later, with Davies now operating on the right side of the attacking quartet, Bayern’s new man played an absolutely brilliant one-time ball over the defense to find Lewy in the opposition box with time and space. Unfortunately, the Bundesliga’s record foreign goalscorer was unable to cash in on the opportunity. Even attempting a pass like this takes a requisite level of skill and audacity common only among world-class players. This pass has not received the praise it deserves.
Finally, with Davies fully coming into his own in the match, he continues to probe the Mainz defense for chances to make it 7-0. The youngster recognizes that Joshua Kimmich has time and space to play an incisive pass. After feigning as an outlet for the German right back, he darts in behind the defense to receive Kimmich’s ball over the top in stride. He then cuts inside and attempts a daring, albeit poor, shot from distance. It is a good sign that he felt comfortable letting this shot fly.
The winger affectionately known as Phonzie looked assured and aggressive throughout his 35-minute appearance. With Bayern still challenging across two competitions, the Canadian international has earned the right to continue featuring in Niko Kovac’s side. With more performances like this one, Davies just might lay the groundwork for a breakthrough campaign in 2019/20.
He’s a star in the making, but does he have what it takes to cut it in the Bavarian capital?