Erling Haaland might have scored the first post-pandemic goal in top-flight football and inspired Borussia Dortmund to within a point of Bayern Munich in the Revierderby against Schalke on Saturday. Alphonso Davies and Bayern responded to the challenge showing no lockdown hangovers in their comfortable 2-nil victory away at Union Berlin on Sunday. The Bavarians barely had to kick into second gear and would have enjoyed the runout after over 60 days of inactivity.
Davies remains on course to lift Bayern’s eighth straight Bundesliga title this season, the Canadian maintaining his standards as one of the best young players across Europe’s top five leagues.
The 19-year-old moved to Germany from Vancouver Whitecaps in January 2019 and has steadily become a key player for the record German champions this season. Davies possesses lightning pace, technical quality and agility from left-back, his eye-catching displays injecting pace to a previously-ageing Bayern backline.
Hitherto, David Alaba’s switch to centre back has brought balance and speed alongside Jérôme Boateng’s ball-playing ability; with World Cup winner Benjamin Pavard at right fullback.
|Alphonso Davies has proved a one-man show across Bayern’s left channel this season. (Hannibal Hanschke/ Getty Images)|
The converted winger is Bayern’s fastest player – no mean feat ahead of speedsters like Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry – as his qualities help when getting back to relieve pressure from defensive areas, quickly turning defence into attack. Davies averages the joint-most dribbles per game in the Bayern squad, alongside Thiago Alcântara, and attempted the most sprints (36) against Union at a top speed of 34.98km/h.
The wonderkid has taken in 22 league appearances and four in the Champions League this season, registering one goal and six assists.
Bayern have won 19 of 22 games since Hansi Flick replaced Niko Kovač midway through the season which has seen them take control of the title race much like last season.
Thus, the lockdown seems to have favoured Die Roten who were also able to welcome back injury absentees Robert Lewandowski and Ivan Perisić. The Pole scored his 40th goal of the season, for the fifth consecutive year, having recovered from knee injury during the suspension.
|Lewandowski, who was in typically imperious form, slots in the opener from the spot. (AFP)|
In an empty stadion An der Alten Försterei where Union Berlin fans were, unfortunately, unable to support their players on just their second-ever home fixture against Bayern. The Bavarians played some wonderful football and going by Davies’ momentum, can look forward to more energetic bursts into the final third.
Chelsea’s right flank beware, there’s no slowing down Davies.