Home Sports How Xabi Alonso carved out a Bundesliga winner in Bayer Leverkusen within a year

How Xabi Alonso carved out a Bundesliga winner in Bayer Leverkusen within a year


The football world collectively doffed their hats to Bayer Leverkusen, managed by Xabi Alonso, finally clinched their maiden Bundesliga title with a resounding 5-0 victory against Werder Bremen on April 14 at the Bay Arena. Having yet to taste defeat this season in their 43 fixtures across all competitions, Leverkusen successfully dethroned their rivals Bayern Munich’s 12-year championship winning streak in the German top-flight league. Having taken charge of the side during the 2022 season, Xabi’s first chapter as a senior team manager saw many football greats question his abilities due to his inexperience.

After Leverkusen sacked Gerardo Seoane in 2022, Xabi Alonso took charge of the side that was battling relegation at that point. Lack of any proper goalscorer, a dismal midfield setup and shaky defensive units – these are all the challenges Xabi faced in his very first top-tier managerial stint. However, the former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder silenced his critics by guiding the side to a sixth-place finish that season, sealing a UEFA Europa League qualification as the icing on the cake.


After hanging up his football boots in 2017, Alonso wasted no time and undertook the UEFA Elite coaching course alongside the likes of current Barcelona coach, Xavi. Subsequently, he made a return to his dear Real Madrid as a coach of their Under-14 side, where he gained quite some recognition for his being more part of the team than boss of the team.

In 2019, Xabi made a switch to yet another of his former sides in Real Sociedad, joining the team as a coach of their B team in Spain’s third tier. Xabi’s promising career as a manager received another big boost after he guided the team to a promotion to the Segunda Divisi³n,

Just as greatness recognises greatness, Pep Guardiola, who coached Xabi during his playing days at Bayern Munich, had already predicted the Spaniard to cause a storm in the football world when he became a manager.

“He will come back soon (after retirement) as a manager and, wherever he goes, I bet that he will be good,” Guardiola said in 2017.

Cut to 2024, top-level European clubs like Real Madrid, Liverpool and even Bayern Munich are now battling for the signature of Xabi Alonso, the manager.


Picture-perfect transfers

There have been many instances when football giants are built on top of transfer overhauls. Jurgen Klopp in Liverpool, Pep Guardiola in Manchester City and Jose Mourinho in Chelsea (2004) – coaches have often broken the banks of their clubs to gain the perfect recipe for success.

Xabi picked a 12-player list ahead of the 2023-2024 season, which played a pivotal role in their maiden title-winning campaign. Amongst those 12 names, which included multiple signings for the future of the club, here are the names who have found the form of their life this season.

Alejandro Grimaldo – Joining the side from SL Benfica, Grimaldo has been the crucial piece of the puzzle in Xabi’s Leverkusen side. The sublime crossing abilities of the left-back has been one of the recurring elements of their goal-scoring tactics this season, which has also seen the Spanish international hold the record for the most assists this season so far with his 12.

Jonas Hofman – The 31-year-old German right-winger has been the perfect back-up attacking plan for Xabi this season, which has even seen him bag 5 goals and 6 assists in his 27 appearances. Hofman’s ability to rush with the ball has often led to Leverkusen carrying out sublime counter-attacks.

Granit Xhaka – Probably one of the biggest names that Xabi roped in ahead of the 2023 season, Xhaka’s ability to control a game became a perfect fit in the Leverkusen side. The Switzerland national team captain as been one of the building stones in his side’s route to their historic Bundesliga campaign.

Victor Boniface – Amongst all the hype that has been surrounding the transfer and goal-scoring skills of Harry Kane in Bayern Munich, Boniface phenomenal stats has failed to reach the much-deserving limelight. The 23-year-old has ran a riot so far in the German football structure as well as the Europa League, having bagged 27 goals and 18 assists across all competitions.

Getting the best out of his side

Apart from the new names that joined the side, Xabi brought the best out of the talents that were already part of his cavalry.

Florian Writz – The 2023-24 season has been one of emphatic redemption for the 23-year-old German attacking-midfielder, which has seen Writz bag 17 goals and 18 assists across all competitions for Leverkusen. Having missed out on football action since his ACL tear in March 2022, Florian Writz’s performance this season has the youngster on the radar of top European clubs.

With the likes of Xavi and Jurgen Klopp having announced their departure from Barcelona and Liverpool at the end of the current season, Xabi ruled out the possibility of a switch in the upcoming season as he has confirmed his stay at the German club for another year.

Published By:

Debodinna Chakraborty

Published On:

Apr 15, 2024

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here