Alphonso Davies once again made headlines in the Bundesliga. The 18-year-old Canadian national team player came on in the 68th minute during Bayern’s 6-1 victory over 1.FSV Mainz.
The score was 4-1 for the home side when Bayern Munich head coach Niko Kovač opted to bring on Davies for Croatian winger Ivan Perišić. What appeared to be a comfortable scoreline, however, was the result of hard work for Germany’s record champions.
Underdogs Mainz took the lead in the fifth minute thanks to a free header by Jean-Paul Boëtius. Bayern, in particular, struggled to find room in the final third, which forced star striker Robert Lewandowski to drop deep at times.
“We were too lethargic before the cooling break,” Bayern head coach Kovač said at the press conference after the game. “Then we moved the ball faster and created dangerous situations.”
With the temperature 86 degrees at the Allianz Arena, the cooling break at the halfway point did indeed mark a turning point for Bayern. In the 37th minute, Benjamin Pavard made it 1-1 and then just before halftime David Alaba curled home a freekick to give Bayern the lead.
“[Lewandowski] and I stay longer on the pitch in training to practice freekicks,” Alaba said to the German paper TZ after the game. “That’s why it worked for him last week and for me today. I told him I feel pretty good today then I took it and thank God it went in.”
“The 2-1 advantage before the break was very important.”
That lead gave Bayern the confidence it needed and goals by Ivan Perišić (55th) and Kingsley Coman (65th) meant a comfortable lead for the Rekordmeister.
— 🇺🇸 FC Bayern US 🇨🇦 (@FCBayernUS) August 31, 2019
It also allowed Kovač to bring on Davies for Perišić. The 18-year-old slotted in on the left and from the first moment created several dangerous opportunities with his darting runs down the left flank.
The winger had 15 touches and completed 80% of his eight passes after coming on. Although he lost possession on four different occasions, the work put in over the summer was apparent. Davies’ runs into the final third were more direct, and within two minutes of coming on, he produced a cross that almost led to Lewandowski’s first goal of the game.
Lewandowski missed on that occasion but then would score just a moment later to make it 5-1 for Bayern in the 79th minute. Davies was not directly involved on that occasion but would get on the scoresheet two minutes later to score Bayern’s sixth and final goal to complete a fantastic outing for the 18-year-old Canadian winger.
For Bayern overall, it was a fantastic result after a poor start to the game.
“Bottom line we are satisfied and happy,” Kovač said after the game.
Meanwhile, for Davies, it has been an encouraging start to the season. The Canadian is expected to play more this season and has already featured in the DFL Supercup against Dortmund and played significant minutes against Hertha on Matchday 1. His performance and goal today will only further increase his chances of playing time.
But first Davies will travel back to Canada where he will represent his nation in the upcoming Concacaf Nations League games against Cuba on Sep. 7 and 10.