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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

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From Arbaaz to Salman Khan: When the Khans spoke about their failed relationships


Sohail Khan recently shared his viewpoint on wh some relationships fail, while talkig to Arhaan Khan for the latter’s YouTube show ‘Dumb Biryani’. Sohail said, “Till when it lasts, and till when you’re happy together, keep the relationship going, don’t make it sour. Because that’s when negative feelings about the other person come into you… Everything comes with an expiry. (Whether) You buy a medicine, you buy a chocolate, or you call for food. When you lose excitement in a relationship, amicably move on. Communication is the best thing.”

Photo: Sohail Khan/ Instagram

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RCB vs SRH Live Score: Markram, Klassen continue carnage


RCB vs SRH Live Score: Markram, Klassen continue carnage

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Donald Trump is on trial in New York. Here’s what to know about the historic case


On Monday morning, several hundred New Yorkers will arrive at the Manhattan criminal courthouse to potentially serve as jurors in an historic trial of a former president of the United States.

In the coming weeks, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg — who announced a 34-count indictment against Donald Trump one year ago — will try to convince twelve jurors and six alternates that the former president falsified documents to hide salacious information from voters and boost his electoral prospects in the 2016 presidential election. Bragg is the first prosecutor to bring criminal charges against a current or former U.S. president.

Trump pleaded not guilty to the felony charges last year, and his lawyers have subsequently made at least 11 attempts to delay the trial, including three failed attempts last week to have a New York Appellate Court pause the case. The former president has labeled the entire prosecution a “witch hunt” and “election interference,” as he campaigns as the presumptive Republican nominee in the 2024 presidential election.

“This is what you call a communist show trial, and we’re going communist. Don’t kid yourself. If we don’t win this election, this country is finished,” Trump told his supporters during a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday.

Jury selection could take at least a week, with the entire trial estimated to last six to eight weeks. Trump is required to be present in the courtroom for the entire trial, which will sit each weekday except Wednesday, beginning on Monday with the start of jury selection.

How will jury selection work?

As potential jurors get settled in the courtroom on Monday, Judge Juan Merchan is expected to read a summary of the case to help them decide if they can be fair and impartial jurors.

According to a filing last week, Merchan will tell the potential jurors that the case centers on allegations that Trump engaged with others in a scheme to “unlawfully influence the 2016 election.” To do so, Trump allegedly “created false business records to hide the true nature of payments” to his then-lawyer Michael Cohen, who made a payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels “to prevent her from publicly revealing the details of a past sexual encounter” with Trump. The former president has pleaded not guilty to all changes and has denied that he ever had an affair with Daniels.

PHOTO: Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Rome, Ga., March 9, 2024.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Rome, Ga., March 9, 2024.

Mike Stewart/AP, FILE

Merchan plans to excuse jurors who determine they cannot be fair or impartial or have a conflict that would prevent them from serving in the lengthy trial.

Jurors will then be asked to answer 42 questions about themselves and their potential thoughts on the case. Trump, his lawyers, and consultants will have access to the names of the jurors, whose identities will remain hidden from the public.

Some questions are relatively standard for the voir dire process — where they live and work, their marital status, where they get their news, and their past interactions with law enforcement — while others specifically probe for potential bias related to Trump.

“Do you have any strong opinions or firmly held beliefs about former President Donald Trump or the fact that he is a current candidate for president that would interfere with your ability to be a fair or impartial juror?” another question asks, while others ask if jurors identify with movements like Antifa or QAnon, or if they have ever attended a Trump rally.

Jurors — who will be seated in the same room as the former president — will be asked to answer each question aloud, and they may be asked follow-up questions by lawyers, according to Merchan’s protocols. The parties are allowed to strike an unlimited number of jurors for cause, while each side is permitted ten peremptory strikes, which are used to excuse jurors for any reason.

Trump’s lawyers have argued that the entire process cannot fairly take place in Manhattan, where they argue that too many potential jurors have negative opinions about the former president. An appeals court denied their request to delay the trial while they argued the case should take place in a different county that is more favorable to him.

“It’s not whether somebody has knowledge of the case or whether they have formed an opinion,” said trial attorney Chris Timmons, an ABC News contributor. “The question is, can they set that opinion aside?”

In a letter last week, Trump’s lawyers asked for minor revisions in the jury selection process, requesting that they have more leeway in assessing political bias, and asking that the court keep a better record of the number of jurors who get excused because they self-identify that they can’t be fair or impartial.

“Jury selection is largely luck; it depends who you get,” Trump said Friday.

What is Trump prohibited from saying?

With Trump sidelined from the campaign trial for at least four days a week, the former president is expected to use the trial to reinforce his campaign messages and rail against the proceeding. A camera in the hallway outside his courtroom will allow the former president to make remarks about the case, and he could make extended speeches before or after court at a nearby building he owns downtown.

“I don’t know how you’re going to have a trial that’s going on right in the middle of an election,” Trump said after a hearing in the case last month. “Not fair. It’s not fair at all.”

Judge Merchan imposed a limited gag order in the case last month that prohibits Trump from making comments about potential jurors, witnesses in the case, individual prosecutors other than Bragg, and the families of both Merchan and Bragg.

“On Monday in New York City, I will be forced to sit fully gagged,” Trump said Saturday, though the former president is permitted to address most elements of the case, including targeting both Bragg and Merchan. “I’m not allowed to talk. Can you believe it?

Trump has toed the line of the gag order in the past weeks, targeting some potential witnesses on social media, sharing articles about the daughter of the judge, and targeting a member of Bragg’s team.

When Merchan expanded the limited gag order earlier this month to cover his and Bragg’s families, he put Trump “on notice” if he violated the gag order related to the jury selection process.

“Defendant is hereby put on notice that he will forfeit any statutory right he might have to access juror names if he engages in conduct that threatens the safety and integrity of the jury or the jury selection process,” Merchan wrote.

Who will testify?

Prosecutors and defense lawyers have not released their witness lists ahead of the trial, but Bragg is expected to center his case on the testimony of Trump’s former lawyer and so-called fixer Michael Cohen.

According to prosecutors, Cohen coordinated the hush-money payments that sit at the center of their case, and Trump allegedly falsified records related to Cohen’s reimbursement for the payment.

Prosecutors are also expected to call both Daniels and Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who also received a hush-money payment for an affair that she alleged but Trump denied. Former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney, Trump’s longtime executive assistant Rhona Graff, Trump’s former director of Oval Office Operations Madeleine Westerhout, and his longtime aide Hope Hicks are also potential witnesses who could testify, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Other witnesses could include former American Media Inc. executive David Pecker and National Enquirer editor-in-chief Dylan Howard, who allegedly helped coordinate the hush payments, according to the indictment.

Trump has suggested he might testify in his own defense during the trial, and his lawyers have said that they will argue that the former president did not intend to commit a crime.

“I would testify, absolutely,” Trump said on Friday.

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Zodiac gaming guide: Matching your Zodiac sign with the perfect game


Everybody loves games, right? Well, your zodiac sign might give you a clue about the games you might enjoy. Let’s see what games might match each sign:
Aries are energetic and love action. They like games that make them move fast and feel the excitement. Think games like “Call of Duty” or “FIFA.”
Taurus people enjoy relaxing and beautiful things. They like games with pretty pictures and calm gameplay.Games like “Minecraft” are right up their alley.
Geminis are flexible and like different kinds of games. They enjoy games that are challenging and make them think. Puzzle games like “God of War” are great for them.
Cancers are caring and like stories that touch their hearts. They enjoy games with deep stories and lots of feelings. Games like “Life is Strange” are perfect for them.
Leos love being the center of attention. They like games where they can show off and be creative. Games like “FIFA” let them do just that.
Virgos are smart and like to solve problems. They enjoy games that challenge their minds and make them think. Games like “Chess” are great for them.
Libras like to be social and work with others. They enjoy games where they can play with friends and cooperate. Games like “Among Us” is perfect for them.
Scorpios are intense and like games with deep stories. They enjoy games that make them feel things and explore complex ideas. Games like “The Witcher 3” or “Detroit: Become Human” are right up their alley.
Sagittarians are adventurous and like to explore. They enjoy games that take them on journeys and let them discover new things. Games like “Horizon Zero Down” are great for them.
Capricorns are ambitious and like games that make them think ahead. They enjoy games where they can plan and build things. Games like “SimCity” or “Cities: Skylines” are perfect for them.
Aquarius are creative and like games that are different. They enjoy games that make them think in new ways and challenge their minds. Games like “Uncharted 4” are great for them.
Pisces are dreamy and like games that take them to magical worlds. They enjoy games with beautiful landscapes and immersive stories. Games like “Overcooked” are perfect for them.
No matter your sign, there’s a game out there for you. So, grab your controller and start playing.

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