Road Runner’ Alphonso Davies lived up to his nickname with another lightning sprint Saturday while Hansi Flick bettered Pep Guardiola’s record start as head coach of Bayern Munich, who opened a 10-point lead in the Bundesliga.
Having defeated second-placed Borussia Dortmund 1-0 away in midweek, Bayern enjoyed a 5-0 romp over Fortuna Duesseldorf.
With five games left, the defending champions, who have won their last eight league games, are comfortably on course for an eighth straight league title.
The visitors’ defender Mathias Joergensen scored an early own-goal before Benjamin Pavard, Robert Lewandowski (2) and Davies hit the target for Bayern.
Davies scored the best goal of the game when the fleet-footed defender pressed Duesseldorf into making a mistake, barged past several defenders and fired home.
“It was very special, I did my job as a defender, I pressed high up the pitch and got the ball, then put it in the back of the net,” said Davies.
The 19-year-old, who was born in a Ghanaian refugee camp before his parents emigrated to Canada, was nicknamed Bayern’s ‘Road Runner’ by teammate Thomas Mueller after the win in Dortmund.
Mueller joked that Davies is Bayern’s version of the fast-running Looney Tunes character after the left-back sprinted to dispossess Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland, himself no slouch.
“When the opponent thinks ‘Oh, I have time,’ ‘meep, meep, meep’ the Roadrunner comes and steals the ball,” quipped Mueller after Davies clocked 35.3km/h to catch Haaland.
Davies said he likes his new nickname after running even faster against Duesseldorf.
“Yeah, I know the cartoon, I watched it when I was growing up,” said the Canadian teenager, who clocked 35.4 km/h in a sprint at the Allianz Arena.
He was just short of the Bundesliga record of 36.49 km/h, which Borussia Dortmund’s Achrif Hakimi set earlier this season.
“Yeah, I am quick, but him (Mueller) calling me the ‘Road Runner’ is a compliment which I take to heart and it was a good nickname,” added Davies.
He has made the left-back berth at Bayern his own with a series of outstanding displays this season and recently signed a contract extension until 2025.
“He’s a great lad, works hard in training every day, listens well and tries to implement that on the pitch,” said Austria defender David Alaba, who schooled Davies in left-back play before moving over to centre-back to accommodate the Canadian.
Several records fell in Saturday’s win.
Lewandowski now has 43 goals in all competitions this season.
The tally is a season’s best for the Poland striker, who has 29 goals in 29 league games, which only Gerd Mueller bettered in 1971/72 on his way to scoring the league record of 40 goals in a season.
Also head coach Hansi Flick claimed his 22nd win in his first 25 games, bettering the start made by Pep Guardiola in 2013.
“Statistics and records don’t interest me, what’s important is to have a successful season,” said Flick, in his first season since replacing Niko Kovac in November.
“At Bayern Munich, you are expected to win the title.
“That’s our goal, but there are a few games left. I am very happy, we were very aggressive and didn’t give them any chances.”
Flick also praised his side for knuckling down with three straight wins since the league resumed despite playing in near-empty stadiums.
“That’s the way it is in this situation, where there are few spectators, the emotions and volume doesn’t come from the terraces, which you normally hear as a player,” said Flick.
“The team is doing really well and putting things into practise brilliantly.”