There’s no disguising the fact that Alphonso Davies isn’t quite reaching the same levels for Bayern Munich this season as he was last season, and that’s no indictment on his abilities or talent whatsoever.
Without sufficient rest after securing the treble last season and not having a proper preseason in the buildup to this season, everything is far more difficult that it normally would be. There’s a bit more than meets the eye as far as what’s been holding him back a bit this campaign (Az).
In the beginning of the season, Hansi Flick had showed a consistent preference to play Lucas Hernandez at left back instead of Davies, which was a little bit peculiar given how well Davies had been playing towards the end of last season. Speaking of Davies slight dip in form, Hansi Flick had said, “such fluctuations are quite normal for a young player after such a strong season.”
He had only started two Bundesliga matches prior to starting in the 5-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, which is the match he sustained an ankle injury in just the third minute of play. The injury caused him to miss five Bundesliga matches and four Champions League matches during a crucial stretch of matches in both competitions.
Since Davies marked his return from his injury layover in Bayern’s final Champions League group stage match, he’s started five of six Bundesliga matches and played all 120 minutes in the DFB-Pokal loss to Holstein Kiel. He’s starting to fall back in to favor in Flick’s starting lineups, which was slightly aided by Lucas Hernandez’s slight thigh injury in the beginning of December.
Still, Davies has not looked his sharpest recently. It was his slight lapse in judgement to clear away a cross out for a corner kick when his was under no pressure against Freibrug. Nils Petersen scored from the ensuing corner kick, levelling the match at 1-1. Last week, it was Davies and Hernandez that offered far too much space for Holstein Kiel’s Hauke Wahl to score their second goal with his head. It’s hard to pin all of the blame on Davies or Hernandez for dropping out of the Pokal or conceding against Freiburg, as it’s always a team effort, but Flick is still mindful of Davies’ “mental freshness” at the moment. He’s looked his usual self going forward up and down the left flank, but it’s obvious that Bayern still has defensive issues to sort out.
Even with the issues in defense, Bayern still has the luxury of a four point gap at the top of the Bundesliga table over second-placed RB Leipzig, though that could change this week as the Hinrunde concludes. Hopefully Flick will be able to sort out the defensive issues and keep Davies inspired to stay sharp and push on.