Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 stars Alphonso Davies, Leon Bailey, Matthew Hoppe, Scott Kennedy and Sheraldo Becker can be expected to shine bright at the 2021 Gold Cup. - © DFL
Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 stars Alphonso Davies, Leon Bailey, Matthew Hoppe, Scott Kennedy and Sheraldo Becker can be expected to shine bright at the 2021 Gold Cup. - © DFL

Leon Bailey, Matthew Hoppe and 4 Germany-based players to watch at the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup


With Bayern Munich's Alphonso Davies ruled out of the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Leon Bailey heads the list of talented Germany-based players at this summer's third major international tournament.

bundesliga.com talks you through the five Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 players who could star in the competition, which kicks off in the United States on 10 July.

Alphonso Davies

Age: 20
Club: Bayern Munich
Country: Canada
Position: Left-back/left winger

Davies has come a long way since making history as Canada's youngest goalscorer at the 2017 Gold Cup, aged 16. Less than four years on, the Ghana-born youngster ranks as one of the most complete left-backs in the world game.

Former Bayern Munich coaches Niko Kovac and Hansi Flick deserve a huge slice of the credit for the transformation, though it was Canada boss John Herdman who first experimented with the ex-Vancouver Whitecaps winger as a wing-back. Seven of his 23 senior international appearances to date have been in defence.

Watch: Alphonso Davies - a landmark season

Left-back is a position Davies has made his own during the most successful era in Bayern's decorated history. A sextuple-winner in 2020, he played out of his skin following a trajectory-stalling ankle injury as the record champions landed a ninth successive Bundesliga title at the end of 2020/21.

"We're all very proud of what Alphonso has accomplished, and how he's raised the profile for our game globally throughout the last year," said Herdman of Canada's first and only UEFA Champions League winner.

"We've all seen his flair, his technical, tactical and physical ability on the field. But what we've now seen is for two seasons he's been a proven winner, and the mindset that develops through that is going to be gold for this country."

Davies, who was the top scorer and named the best young player four years ago, will be playing at his third Gold Cup.

Alphonso Davies will be targeting more silverware with Canada at the CONCACAF Gold Cup after winning the 2020/21 Bundesliga with Bayern Munich. - kolbert-press/Christian Kolbert/Christian Kolbert/kolbert-press/Pool

Leon Bailey

Age: 23
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Country: Jamaica
Position: Winger

Jamaica were beaten finalists in 2015 and 2017 - and reached the last four two years ago - but that was before Bailey found his groove.

The subject of an eligibility debate that raged from Belgium, via England, to even Germany, Leverkusen's mercurial winger debuted for his country of birth at the 2019 Gold Cup. By his own standards, the preceding Bundesliga campaign had been a touch modest, though he did proceed to play in four out of five games at the finals, producing an assist in the semi-final defeat to the USA.

Bailey registered identical numbers for goals and assists in the 2019/20 Bundesliga - five and three respectively - before becoming a father for the first time in June 2020. It was a life-affirming experience.

Watch: Leon Bailey - back to his best in the Bundesliga

"My son gave me a whole different motivation toward life and towards football," Bailey told Forbes. "I believe a player needs to feel good inside and throughout this whole season I've been feeling great, amazing, injury free, and always praying to God.

"I'm just so motivated to work hard every training, and give my best in every game. And as a result of all that it's been paying off and I hope I can continue doing that."

Bailey's career-best return of 15 goals and 10 assists in all competitions in 2020/21 bodes very well indeed in the context of Jamaica's pursuit of a maiden Gold Cup.

Matthew Hoppe

Age: 20
Club: Schalke
Position: Forward
Country: USA

The 2020/21 season was a difficult one for his club - ending in relegation - but on a personal level it was a triumph for Hoppe. The Californian burst onto the scene in the Bundesliga, making his debut in November against Borussia Mönchengladbach before getting on the scoresheet for the first time in January. He did so in style in that Matchday 15 fixture against Hoffenheim, becoming the first American to get a hat-trick in the Bundesliga by scoring three goals in the 4-0 victory. That ended a run of 30 league matches without a win for Schalke, and their young striker continued to be a rare bright spot in a season to forget.

Watch: Learn more about January's Rookie of the Month

He also netted in his team's next two matches - losses against Eintracht Frankfurt and Cologne - to make it five goals from five shots on target in January. On the penultimate day of the season he came off the bench at half-time in the return fixture against Eintracht, getting an assist and then a goal in a 4-3 success. That meant the 20-year-old played a big part in two of the bottom club's three wins in 2020/21, and he ended the campaign as the Royal Blues' leading goalscorer with six in 22 matches.

"My dream is coming true and so it's been special for me," Hoppe told bundesliga.com early in the year.

The talented attacker can start to dream a little bigger now after banking his first pro contract with Schalke in February and earning a maiden call-up to the USA senior team in May ahead of the Gold Cup. With Borussia Dortmund attacker Gio Reyna, RB Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams, and former Bundesliga stars Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie among the big-name US players sitting out the tournament, Hoppe will surely make his international debut this month.

Scott Kennedy

Age: 24
Club: Jahn Regensburg
Country: Canada
Position: Centre-back

The other German-based player in the Canada squad has been working quietly and effectively in the background in comparison to Davies. Scott Kennedy swapped the Austrian second tier for Bundesliga 2 when he moved from Austria Klagenfurt to Jahn Regensburg in August 2020, and he'll be pleased with how his first year in Germany has gone.

The 6'3" defender played 22 times in the second tier, making 16 starts to steer his team well clear of relegation trouble with a 14th-placed finish. He also caught the eye in a good DFB Cup run with his new side as the Bavarians got through three rounds. They beat Cologne on penalties - after Kennedy netted in a 2-2 draw - before losing 1-0 to Werder Bremen in the quarter-finals.

Imposing Canada defender Scott Kennedy enjoyed a fine first year in Germany with Bundesliga 2 side Jahn Regensburg. - SASCHA JANNE via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Sascha Janne

"They were the moments that helped me understand that when he's with better players and playing against better players, he can really rise up," Canada coach Herdman said last month of Kennedy's cup performances.

Herdman handed the "no-nonsense" Calgary native his senior international debut in a 4-0 victory over Suriname in June, and it's something he didn't regret.

"That was as strong a debut as I've seen for this country," Herdman said of Kennedy's impressive showing in a back three.

The giant defender has since added another couple of caps, and he will be one of 11 players in Canada's 23-man squad who will be experiencing the Gold Cup for the first time.

Sheraldo Becker

Age: 26
Club: Union Berlin
Position: Winger
Country: Suriname

Becker was born and brought up in Amsterdam and represented the Netherlands up to U20 level. In November 2020 it was announced that the speedy Union Berlin attacker was eligible to represent Suriname, and in June 2021 he followed through on his wish to represent the country his parents hail from. The former Ajax academy player immediately showed what he could offer, scoring two goals on his debut in a 6-0 win over Bermuda in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Union Berlin and former Netherlands youth winger Sheraldo Becker will feature for Suriname at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. - kolbert-press/Anette Foks via www.imago-images.de/imago images/kolbert-press

"We can be proud," he said after the game. "There's still a lot to be done but we're ready to do it. This was only the start."

Becker's success will come as no surprise to Bundesliga fans. The former Ado den Haag player's two years in the German capital have been beset by injuries, but he got three goals and three assists in 18 league appearances in 2020/21. He saved the best until last, coming off the bench on the final day to set up Max Kruse's injury-time winner against RB Leipzig. That goal secured a seventh-place finish for Union and qualification for the UEFA Europa Conference League. Becker will be hoping for similar successful times with Suriname when the South American country start their Gold Cup campaign against Jamaica on 12 July.