Three key players behind Bayern Munich’s eighth straight title

Berlin (AFP)

Bayern Munich were crowned German champions for the 30th time in the club’s history on Tuesday as the Bavarian giants secured an eighth straight Bundesliga title.

Here, AFP Sport looks at three key players from Bayern’s league-winning campaign:

Alphonso Davies has been outstanding in his first full season with Bayern
Alphonso Davies has been outstanding in his first full season with Bayern Christof STACHE POOL/AFP/File

Alphonso Davies

Davies has undoubtedly been Bayern’s find of the season.

The 19-year-old, who was born in a Ghanaian refugee camp before his parents emigrated to Canada, joined Bayern in 2018 from Vancouver Whitecaps for an MLS record fee of $13 million (11.5 million euros).

He only made his first Bundesliga start last October, converting from a left winger to a left-back, after Lucas Hernandez suffered an ankle injury.

Davies has made the position his own, with his lightning pace either covering holes in defence or launching counter-attacks.

“We can no longer imagine the team without him,” admitted Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.

He is exceptionally fast, prompting Thomas Mueller to nickname him “Bayern’s Road Runner”.

The Canadian clocked 36.51 km/h in the victory over Werder Bremen which secured the title.

With Davies at left-back, David Alaba has moved across to forge a solid centre-back partnership with Jerome Boateng.

It left Hernandez, who cost a club-record 80 million euros from Atletico Madrid, as a very expensive substitute after recovering from injury.

Thomas Mueller

Mueller has been back to his very best since being reinstated into the regular starting XI by Hansi Flick following the sacking of Niko Kovac last year.

He was vocal in his criticism of being used mainly as a substitute under Kovac.

Bayern have barely looked back since he was given a run of starts under Flick.

Mueller has scored seven league goals, while many of his 20 assists this campaign — one short of the league record — were finished off by Lewandowski as the pair quickly re-established their prolific partnership.

Due to his constant chatter, Mueller has the nickname “Radio Paehl” — referring to the sleepy Bavarian town he hails from — and he has been back to his jokey best in post-match interviews.

He described playing behind closed doors as like “old men’s football, 7pm, under floodlights”.

Robert Lewandowski

Lewandowski is enjoying the best scoring season of his career with 31 league goals and 46 in 40 games in all competitions.

The 31-year-old has already equalled the Bundesliga record for a foreigner, set by Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the 2016/17 season for Borussia Dortmund.

Gerd Mueller’s Bundesliga record of 40 goals from the 1971/72 season looked in danger when Lewandowski set a new record by scoring in the first 11 league games of the campaign.

Lewandowski is set to win the Golden Cannon as the Bundesliga’s top scorer for the fifth time — only Mueller has won more with seven.

But both Mueller and Lewandowski are approaching the twilight of their careers, and Bayern are looking for long-term replacements with Manchester City winger Leroy Sane and Bayer Leverkusen attacker Kai Havertz both reportedly in their sights.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s