Canada’s Alphonso Davies makes Bundesliga debut off bench for Bayern Munich

MUNICH — Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies made his Bundesliga debut Sunday, coming off the bench in the 86th minute of Bayern Munich’s 4-1 win over VfB Stuttgart.

He arrived two minutes after Polish international Robert Lewandowski, making up for an earlier missed penalty, scored to make it 4-1 with his 99th goal in all competitions at Allianz Arena. Davies took up an advanced position on the left side of the field before the crowd of 75,000.

“Great result today….happy to make my Bundesliga debut,” Davies tweeted, adding a couple of flexed bicep emojis.

The 18-year-old follows fellow Canadian internationals Paul Stalteri, Kevin McKenna, Rob Friend, Olivier Occean, Simeon Jackson, Marcel de Jong, Julian de Guzman and Daniel Imhof in seeing Bundesliga action.

“Welcome to your new home,” Bayern tweeted.

Davies joined Bayern (13-3-3) from the Vancouver Whitecaps in an MLS record-breaking US$22-million transfer deal that runs through 2023. The deal was done in July but Davies finished out the MLS season before joining Bayern this month.

Bayern boss Niko Kovac named an unchanged side from the team that beat Hoffenheim 3-1 nine days ago to mark the Bundesliga’s return to action after its traditional winter break. Davies was also on the bench that day and did not see action.

Veterans Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben remained out injured.

Kovac brought on German international Serge Gnabry at halftime. Colombia international James Rodriguez came on in the 74th minute. Davies came in for Kingsley Coman.

Second-place Bayern, after its seventh straight league win, moved within six points of league leader Borussia Dortmund. Unbeaten in seven, its last Bundesliga loss was a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Borussia Dortmund on Nov. 10.

Spain’s Thiago and Leon Goretzka also scored for Bayern, which also benefited from a Christian Gentner own goal. Anastasios Donis replied for Stuttgart (4-13-2).

Stuttgart, which arrived at Allianz Arena 14 places and 25 points beneath Bayern, went behind early but fought back in a spirited first-half performance. Bayern took control in the second half, however.

Thiago opened the scoring in the fifth minute, slotting a right-footed shot in from just inside the penalty box after a ball chipped into the Stuttgart box caused mayhem.

Donis replied in the 26th minute with a terrific right-footed shot high into the net from outside the penalty box. The Greek international came close in the 33rd minute but his shot was stopped by Manuel Neuer.

Bayern went up in the 55th minute after Gnabry’s shot deflected off Stuttgart’s Gentner and beat goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler. It was Stuttgart’s fourth own goal of the season.

Stuttgart hit the post in the 64th minute and second later conceded a penalty at its own end as Lewandowski was taken down by Marc-Oliver Kempf. But Lewandowski rang his shot off the post.

Goretzka scored via header off a corner in the 71st minute. Lewandowski finished off the scoring with a nifty run past the goalkeeper before scoring from an angle into the empty net.

Davies did start in Bayern’s penalty shootout win over Borussia Moenchengladbach in the final of the Telekom Cup, a four-team competition held during the winter break. Prior to that, he took part in Bayern’s week-long training camp in Doha.

He has made nine appearances for Canada with three goals and four assists. In December, he become the youngest winner of the Canadian Men’s Soccer Player for the Year Award.

Born in a refugee camp in Ghana after his parents fled the Liberian civil war, Davies ended up in Edmonton after his family immigrated to Canada. He joined the Whitecaps’ residency program in 2015, working his way up the ranks to make his MLS debut in July 2016.

He was 15 at the time, becoming the second youngest player in league history — behind American Freddy Adu — and the first born in the 2000s.

Bayern visits ninth-place Bayer 04 Leverkusen next Saturday.

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