IIn the duels between Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich, there is still a subtle sense of play, even if Bayern Munich is usually called the winner. However, a 2-0 win over Ferencváros in Budapest took Rheinlander to the quarter-finals of the Europa League on Thursday, where they will face Royal Union St. Gilloise in April. The record champions and Bayer 04 meet on Sunday afternoon (5:30pm live on FAZ for the Bundesliga and on DAZN), the only two German clubs still represented in the European Cup.
It’s no secret that Munich is confident that in the course of the season they will win two or three titles. But what will become possible for Bayer Leverkusen remains a mystery.
Even coach Xabi Alonso doesn’t know if Budapest’s solid performance and decent results so far are a reliable indicator of a sustainable development step. “Our goal is to always keep that maturity and control in our game,” Alonso says, then a lot is possible. “If we continue to ride the rollercoaster, it will be a little more difficult.” It’s nice that the Spaniard does not hide his doubts. Even before his 17th Bundesliga game on the bench at Bayer 04, Alonso didn’t know exactly what his team was capable of.
Rummenigge praised Alonso
For his part, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, longtime Bayern CEO, just told Sport Bild what he thinks Alonso, who is always talked about as a possible Munich coach of the future, is capable of: the course of his playing career “had coaches like Xabi at Liverpool, at Real Madrid, at Bayern Munich, in the national team – and everywhere he had incredible success, and he is a good guy, so disciplined and empathetic – it must be hell if he will not succeed as a coach,” Rummenigge said.
This statement contains the same subjunctive mood as the thesis that Bayer Leverkusen “should” be in a much better position with this squad than in ninth place in the table. If you only look at the time that has passed since Alonso replaced Gerardo Seoane as Leverkusen manager, the track record is very decent. Moreover, a big coup in the Europa League is possible.
Bayern are able to win against Bayern now that Florian Wirtz is putting many of those genius goals into the opponent’s box after a cruciate ligament tear. How Moussa Diaby blossoms after a form crisis. Jeremy Frimpong is becoming one of the strongest wingers in the league, Sardar Azmoun is developing the same way as Mitchel Bakker, and goalkeeper Lukas Hradecki also makes fewer mistakes.
Alonso talks about the “development of the team”, as a result of which “one step at a time there is self-confidence”; Bayern came at the right time because Alonso knows the leaders better than any other team. He was a professional in Munich between 2014 and 2017, playing with Thomas Müller, Joshua Kimmich or Kingsley Coman, but doesn’t want to be bothered by any reunion feelings. “No emotion,” says Alonso, “I’m focused on playing and working with the team.”
Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine
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