The world’s most popular sport is gradually making its way back to TV screens across the globe.
It’s been over a month since the Bundesliga returned to action, and it has provided soccer fans with a glimpse into the next generation of talent.
Bayern Munich just earned its eighth-consecutive league title following its 1-0 victory over Werder Bremen on Tuesday. World-class players such as goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and forward Robert Lewandowski have been key contributors to Bayern’s championship run this season, but that’s what we’ve come to expect from them over the years.
No one anticipated the emergence of 19-year-old left back Alphonso Davies, though.
The Canadian made his presence felt throughout Germany, operating down the flanks with a blend of record-breaking speed and surprising strength. In Tuesday's title-clinching win over Werder Bremen, Davies was clocked at 22.7 miles per hour — the fastest time ever recorded in league history. Three days later, he was named Bundesliga Rookie of the Season.
RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner is another up-and-comer to have left his mark on Germany’s top flight this year. The 24-year-old has registered 26 goals and eight assists in 33 Bundesliga matches.
He also tacked on four goals and two assists in eight UEFA Champions League appearances before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement of European soccer’s biggest tournament.
Bayern and Leipzig are the only German teams still standing in the knockout rounds of the competition. For the time being, we’ve been robbed of watching Davies, Werner and other youngsters make a name for themselves on a stage as grand as the Champions League.
La Liga in Spain and the Premier League in England were the next soccer entities to come back from a three-month hiatus caused by COVID-19.
We’ve already seen Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid play three games each. However, Spain’s elite clubs have yet to play against one another or any team of their caliber, for that matter. And while it’s entertaining to watch forwards Lionel Messi, Karim Benzema and João Felix run circles around less-talented players, imagine how much better it would be to see them face stiffer competition in Juventus or Paris Saint-Germain.
The main reason why Juve and PSG went out to get forwards Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr., respectively, was to finally lift the Champions League trophy that has eluded both clubs for many years. It wasn’t to help them come away with another domestic title.
Juventus currently sits atop Serie A with 11 games left, and if it can hold on for the remainder of the campaign, then it would be the team’s ninth-straight year as champions. PSG was already given the Ligue 1 title (its eighth in the last nine seasons) back in April, as manager Thomas Tuchel and his squad held a 12-point advantage over second-place Marseille by the time COVID-19 struck.
For teams that dominate domestically, the Champions League serves as the only validity of a successful season. For teams that don’t, like Atalanta (Italy) and Olympique Lyon (France), the tournament provides them with an opportunity to make a resounding statement.
That’s why I’ll be tuning in when the Champions League restarts on Aug. 7. And you better believe I’ll be singing along to the competition’s catchy theme song with the rest of the soccer community.