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Berlin: Hailed as one of the “best players of his generation”, versatile Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies started life in a refugee camp, but is now starring in the Champions League for Bayern Munich.
The German champions are already through to the last 16 as Group B winners and Bayern could become the first German club to win all six of their group matches when they host Tottenham on Wednesday.
Davies, who only turned 19 in November, was on the bench in north London when Bayern thrashed Spurs 7-2 in October.
However, serious knee injuries to first-choice centre-backs Niklas Suele and Lucas Hernandez have since catapulted him into the starting line-up.
A reshuffle of Bayern’s back four saw David Alaba switch to centre-back, leaving Davies, usually a winger, to play at left-back.
“Luckily the coach sees something in me and plays me every week as a left-back or a winger, it doesn’t matter,” said Davies, who has played the 90 minutes in all of Bayern’s last nine games.
“Whichever one he puts me in, I’m able to do the job.”
When Borussia Dortmund were trounced 4-0 in the Bundesliga last month, Robert Lewandowski grabbed the headlines with two goals, yet it was Davies who subdued Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi down the left to help keep the visitors goalless.
Born at the turn of the century in a refugee camp in Ghana, Davies was still a small child when he emigrated to Canada with his parents.
He became Canada’s youngest international aged 16 and seven months, being named in the squad days after becoming a citizen.
Davies officially joined Bayern from Vancouver Whitecaps on January 1 for a reported $13 million (Dh47.74 million).
His Bundesliga debut came in late January, but he had to wait until last month for his first Champions League match, a 2-0 home win against Olympiakos.
He has also scored five goals in 17 internationals, including when Canada beat the United States for the first time in 34 years in the CONCACAF Nations League in October.
Davies says he has learnt from playing alongside Austrian Alaba while playing at left-back for Bayern.
“I have a guy like David Alaba beside me who is one of the best left-backs in the world and he’s helping me out,” said Davies.
“I’m very grateful for that. Being able to transition from a winger to a left-back was pretty easy for me because during my time at Vancouver I used to play there as well.
“So me playing left-back is just about learning the position more and more.”
Struggling Atletico Madrid play Lokomotiv Moscow, needing a victory to guarantee second place in Group D and a spot in the last 16.
Anything less at the Wanda Metropolitano and they will have to match what Bayer Leverkusen manage at home to Juventus, who are unlikely to be at full pelt having already won the group.
In normal circumstances, Atletico would be confident of deeming Leverkusen’s result in Germany irrelevant but disappointment and doubt means faith in the team, and their coach, Diego Simeone, is wavering. Another slip-up could cost Simeone his job.
Shakhtar v Atalanta, 9.55pm
Dinamo Zagreb v Man City, 9.55pm
Atletico v Lokomotiv, midnight
Bayer v Juventus, midnight
PSG v Galatasaray, midnight
Club Brugge v Real Madrid, midnight
Bayern Munich v Tottenham, midnight
Olympiakos v Red Star Belgrade, midnight
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