Joshua Kimmich has heaped praise on his Bayern Munich teammate David Alaba and hailed the Austrian for his performances in the centre of the record champions’ defence despite being a left-back by trade.
Alaba has been forced into action as a centre-back in recent weeks due to absences in the position. First-choice central defenders Niklas Süle and Lucas Hernandez are both out with injuries, while Jerome Boateng has been handed a two-match suspension for his red card against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Although it isn't the first time the Austrian has been used in the middle, it is by no means a natural position for him.
"It's no secret I feel better on the left," the 27-year-old said after the 4-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in which the new-look defence allowed the visitors just one shot in 90 minutes. That was the first time since data collection began that BVB had recorded fewer than three attempts in a Bundesliga game.
Alaba previously found himself used in the position on a regular basis under Pep Guardiola, as well as on a number of occasions under Carlo Ancelotti. In 34 Bundesliga games under them where he featured at centre-back, Bayern drew just seven and lost only once.
"He's outstanding for me as a left-back, but I think he's one of the best in the world at centre-back," the Germany international said after Der Klassiker. "I've told David that. His body language is amazing, he has great build-up play and keeps calm under pressure."
Watch: All of Alaba's Bundesliga free-kicks
The Austrian was not the only member of the newly formed back four to receive praise for his Klassiker performance. Teenager Davies was also commended for his performance at left-back – Alaba’s usual spot – despite naturally being a winger.
"I'm very pleased with him," Flick said after the game. "Alphonso is a very young player and has made great progress. What particularly impresses me is how robust he is in his challenges."
With Boateng still suspended, and Süle and Hernandez some way off a return, the left-sided duo of Alaba and Davies are expected to continue following the international break when the champions go to Fortuna Düsseldorf.