While the future is unknowable, three foreign-born teens signed by Bundesligs clubs this year have shown brightly over the last few days while indicating what their futures in Germany might hold. Bayern Munich’s Canadian starlet, Alphonso Davies, had the game of a lifetime Saturday for the Vancouver Whitecaps, while RB Leipzig’s Matheus Cunha notched a goal in Europa League action Thursday. American Josh Sargent, 18, had a strong match this weekend in Werder Bremen’s goalless friendly draw with Dutch side FC Groningen.
Alphonso Davies Lights it Up
While most 17 year-olds dream of an all-world performance, Davies blazed his name against the night sky Saturday in his MLS match against Minnesota United. Just days after signing with Bayern Munich, Davies scored two goals and assisted twice in a 4-2 Vancouver win that can only excite Bayern fans around the world.
Hours after Bayern Munich were concluding their Audi USA Tour across the North American continent in Miami, Davies lit it up for Vancouver fans. He began in the 33th minute, shoveling a short pass to teammate Yordy Reyna, whose individual dribbling and shot gave the Whitecaps a 1-0 lead. Ten minutes into the second half, Davies intercepted a misguided backpass attempt by Minnesota United in their own third, coolly made a juke move to give himself space, and dribbled before nutmegging the goalkeeper to give the Whitecaps a 2-0 lead.
Just after the hour, Davies struck again. Receiving a fine throughball from Reyna, Davies streaked towards the Minnesota goal on a 2v1 break. Despite a good shooting opportunity as he moved on goal, the 17 year-old unselfishly passed to his left, hitting fellow attacker Kei Kamara in stride for a goal from the MLS veteran. Minnesota United came back, notching two goals to make the game close, but in the closing minutes, Bayern’s newboy provided insurance as he roofed a goal after a fine move following a pass from Kamara. A brilliant performance for the Canadian phenom, which earned him a rare 10.00 rating by Whoscored.com (4 shots, 2 goals, 2 assists, 1 tackle, and a 76% passing success rating).
Davies already has authored a remarkable personal story, being born in a refugee camp in Ghana, before growing up in Edmonton. He will finish the current season with the Whitecaps, and join Bayern in January.
Cunha Stunner In Europa League
RB Leipzig entered the summer transfer window having already lost star attacker Naby Keita, who had previously signed with Liverpool FC. Needing to fill the void left by the ultra-talented Keita’s departure, one of the Saxony club’s June signings was Matheus Cunha, 19, the Brazilian winger who starred in his first season in the Swiss Super League last season with FC Sion.
The teenager showed his stuff Thursday in his first competitive match for Leipzig. Named a starter for RB Leipzig’s Europa League qualifying match with Swedish side BK Hacken, Cunha had an assist and scored a wondergoal to give his team the win and a huge 4-0 aggregate win going into the second leg return match. The Brazilian scorched his goal from 16 yards out, leaving goalkeeper Peter Abrahamsson no chance to make the save.
Given the inability of Bundesliga clubs to advance from qualification in the Europa League group stage in recent seasons against lesser competition, along with the fact that the Swedish side were in midseason form, the win is important, and Cunha’s contributions should be a foreshadowing for things to come for Ralf Rangnick’s squad.
Sargent Continues to Impress for Werder Bremen
Eighteen year-old American Josh Sargent continues to take advantage of his playing opportunities this summer for Werder Bremen’s first team. Trying to create a spot for himself in Bremen’s lineup (crowded even further with the announcement that green-white icon Claudio Pizarro is returning to the club), Sargent had yet another strong performance this weekend against Eredivisie side FC Groningen.
Having already scored goals this summer with Florian Kohfeldt’s first team, Sargent was acknowledged as the attacking star for Werder Bremen in the Groningen match. The St Louis area native had four chances to find the net, and came especially close on a 58th minute header from a Johannes Eggestein cross that forced a first-class save by Groningen veteran goalkeeper Sergio Padt. Minutes earlier, Padt was able to get to a throughball to Sargent to smother the chance, and at the game’s end, the Groningen keeper was able to defuse Sargent’s half volley attempt.
With less than a month to go before the season opener, Sargent has given every indication that he has the size, speed and especially the footballing instincts to contribute to a positive season in Bremen. In the Groningen match, the American was one of only three Werder starters to play the entire 90, indicating that Kohfeldt is seriously evaluating how Sargent will fit into future green-white rotations. Like Davies and Cunha, he is a Bundesliga star of the future already proving that he’s got the right stuff.