Another season, another title for Bayern Munich, who won his eighth championship title in a row as Bundesliga champions.
This year was different for Bayern, however, as the 19-year-old Canadian Alphonso Davies played 29 games in all competitions after Hansi Flick took over as coach in November and symbolized the resurgence of the team.
Despite the dominance, FC Bayern was pushed for most of the season by Borussia Dortmund. Dortmund clearly believed that it would finally be a bride and then land again on the altar next to Bayern.
But not only the two best teams deserve praise. There are many key takeaways from top to bottom, with some questions unanswered at the beginning of the off-season.
Alphonso Davies transformed Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich is the champion. No one is surprised, especially if they saw Bayern after the restart.
What nobody could have predicted was that Davies would become a key player for one of the largest clubs in Europe and make a major contribution to the transformation.
There were obviously other factors for the renaissance of Bavaria, although the common denominator is trainer Hansi Flick, who has established a much-needed tactical philosophy. Players who were once considered rabbits – for example Thomas Müller – broke records in one season.
But Davies was a central part of the puzzle. As a left-back with devastating speed, dribble, foresight and tenacity, the Canadian was constantly involved in the attack. With the more conservative Benjamin Pavard as a right-back, this ensured that there were always three players behind to prevent counterattacks. This was crucial because the Bavarians set up a high line of defense.
Thanks to the personnel deployed in Flick's 4-2-3-1 system, the Bavarian teams were able to exploit Davies on the left-hand side.
In the following clip, David Alaba is on the ball against Union Berlin, who believes that Thiago – the team's conductor – will be received. The Union players are pushing for the Brazilian, but it allows Alaba to switch to Robert Lewandowski. When that's done, Lewandowski goes to Müller when Davies runs in before clinging to a steep pass.
This is one of many examples throughout the season, but it has been regular. It is therefore no wonder why Davies was third in the Bundesliga in xGBuildup per 90 minutes among players who have logged at least 1,500 minutes this season.
Bundesliga leader in xGBuildup per 90 minutes in the 2019-20 season. (via Understat)
If you look at Davies’s statistical radar this season, it is obvious that he played at elite level.
Now that the Bundesliga season is over, here is Alphonso Davies' last radar for 2019-20.
Is that good? #FCBayern | #CanMNT pic.twitter.com/7Aou84e1N0
– Peter Galindo (@GalindoPW) June 28, 2020
As dangerous as Davies was in the last third, he admits that he has to work on his defensive positioning to become an even bigger threat. These areas for improvement were analyzed after Bayern's 0-0 draw against RB Leipzig in February and are still there.
The legendary defender Paolo Maldini once said: "If I have to do a duel, I have already made a mistake", and this is a quote Davies has followed. As breathtaking as it is to watch your recovery speed, it would be beneficial to save energy for these attack runs. The fact that his percentage of tackling versus dribbled past (tack / DP%) is at the lower end of the scale shows that he needs to improve from the ball.
Admittedly, it's always difficult to be in the right defensive position when Davies is as aggressively involved as he is. But he clearly has the stamina and pace to deal with it.
If Davies is able to take these steps, he will finally enter into the "Best Left-Back in the World" conversation.
What's next for Borussia Dortmund?
Borussia Dortmund will be one of the most interesting teams to monitor in Europe this summer.
The current boss, Lucien Favre, is supposed to stay with the team in the late season despite the slip, and Dortmund has also started to retrofit the squad. Paris Saint-Germain right-back Thomas Meunier joined the team on a free transfer, and Dortmund is reportedly on the verge of signing 17-year-old prodigy Jude Bellingham from Birmingham City.
Meunier will replace Achraf Hakimi, who is about to join Inter. That will be a blow to Dortmund, as Hakimi was omnipresent this season.
10 – Achraf #Hakimi is the second youngest player to have delivered at least 10 assists in the top 5 European leagues this season, just behind Jadon Sancho. Glacier. pic.twitter.com/dYTyLfX8yR
– OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) June 26, 2020
Fortunately for Dortmund, Meunier offensively tended to fit seamlessly into BVB's 3-4-3 as a right full-back.
Statistical comparison of Achraf Hakimi and Thomas Meunier from the 2019-20 season. (via Understat)
The big question is whether Jadon Sancho will stay in Dortmund this summer. Club CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke is confident that Sancho will not leave as no team can meet the £ 100m (CAD168m) rating.
The COVID-19 pandemic will financially hamper some clubs, but can also be a negotiating tactic from Watzke. If Sancho asks to leave and a bid is placed, there could be selling pressure, especially given the current financial situation in Dortmund.
If Sancho is not sold, Dortmund can fight with Bayern, especially with a full season from Erling Haaland, who scored 13 goals after signing in January.
The next stars of football shine brightly
A total of 61 players aged 23 and under played at least 1,000 minutes in the Bundesliga this season, confirming the nickname of the Bundesliga as a league of talented young people.
Davies was one of the most important U-23 players, as was Borussia Dortmund's trio from Hakimi, Sancho and Haaland. Hakimi (10) and Sancho (16) scored 26 assists together, while Haaland scored a ridiculous 13 goals in 15 games. Imagine how deadly it will be in an entire season.
R. Lewandowski – 33
T. Werner – 26
J. Sancho – 17
W. Weghorst -16
R. Hennings – 15
E. Haaland – 13 pic.twitter.com/HgpTmoCQL9
– Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_DE) June 23, 2020
But there were other great performances across the league. Schalke's Suat Serdar was one of the club's top goalscorers before hurting himself at the end of the season, while Hertha Berlin's Jordan Torunarigha helped revive Hertha's defense.
Jordan Torunarigha against Augsburg
2 duels won
2 blocked shots
4 antennas won
Hertha only conceded 2 goals in 4 games after restarting the Bundesliga – Torunarigha & Boyata are absolutely solid. pic.twitter.com/gvSz5RWnY7
– Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) May 30, 2020
Serdar could be sold by Schalke to help the team balance his books, and several others could leave Germany with him. RB Leipzig's central defender Dayot Upamecano could be among these departures after another solid campaign. He wasn't that strong on the defensive after the restart, but he'll still charge a high fee.
Kai Havertz can also be added to this target list. With a value of 80 million euros (CAD 123 million), the 21-year-old is probably the most comprehensive player on the transfer market.
Kai Havertz & # 39; season by numbers for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga:
140 hits in the opposing penalty area
126 passes in the last third
59 opportunities created
57 missions completed
15 great opportunities created
Could this be his last season? pic.twitter.com/QNb1FLZqxA
– Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 27, 2020
After qualifying for the Champions League, it is unlikely that Borussia Mönchengladbach will have to sell one of their top players, including 22-year-old winger Marcus Thuram, who scored 10 goals and eight assists. Not bad for someone who was signed by Guingamp for 12 million euros.
But Gladbach's most consistent player was Florian Neuhaus. The 23-year-old showed brilliant serenity in midfield with his distribution and defense efforts.
Some of these players may leave the Bundesliga, others will continue to impress in the coming season and beyond.
Player of the season
Robert Lewandowski : This was an easy choice. Lewandowski scored 34 goals, the third-highest record ever in a single Bundesliga season, and was simply dominant.
Most goals + assists in the five best leagues in Europe this season:
Lionel Messi (38)
Robert Lewandowski (38)
Timo Werner (36)
But now the Bundesliga boys are done. pic.twitter.com/Nh1MGODsoE
– Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 29, 2020
goal of the season
Matheus Cunha against Hoffenheim (May 16) : From unbelievable dribbling to the sublime end, this goal had it all.