Xabi Alonso and Leverkusen looking to challenge Bayern Munich hegemony
The Bayer Leverkusen coach faces his former club in Friday’s Bundesliga action in Munich with the Basque coach looking to deliver an upset.
Despite having reached only the fourth matchday of the 23-24 Bundesliga season, Friday’s game in Munich between early pacesetters Bayern and Leverkusen already has a decisive match feel about it. Both sides have recorded three wins from three and along with Dortmund and Frankfurt are the only unbeaten sides in the league.
Current Leverkusen head coach Xabi Alonso now returns to the Allianz Arena hoping to deliver an early season upset at his former home.
In less than a year, Alonso has taken a team on the brink of the relegation zone and transformed them into a solid and well drilled unit now looking upwards rather than towards the drop zone. Thanks to the impeccable work of sporting director Simon Rolfes during the summer market, Xabi now also has new recruits to be able to challenge the likes of Bayern, Dortmund and Leipzig in the fight for the title. Xhaka provides hierarchy, Grimaldo verticality, Wirtz has plenty of talent and Boniface (has four goals in three games) goals, all the necessary ingredients to make a splash at the Allianz Arena: “The next game is a big challenge, but we have a lot of confidence”, were the words of Xabi Alonso before traveling to Munich.
In March of this year, a 2-1 defeat for the Munich side against Leverkusen led to the dismissal of Julian Nagelsmann as coach of the Bavarian giants. Now Thomas Tuchel, Nagelsmann’s successor, who will try to stop Xabi Alonso’s confident ‘Werkself’ side. Speaking ahead of Friday’s game, Alonso, who recently saw his contract at the BayArena recently extended until 2026, is encouraged with his team’s performances. “We go into the game with very positive energy and a lot of confidence. We want to continue like this. We will see what happens,” he concluded.
Match details and possible lineups:
BAYERN: Ulreich; Mazraoui, Kim, De Ligt, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Sané, Müller, Coman; and Kane.
B. LEVERKUSEN: Hradecky; Kossounou, Tah, Tapsoba; Frimpong, Palacios, Xhaka, Grimaldo; Hofmann, Boniface and Wirtz.
REFEREE: D. Schlager (Germany).
STADIUM: Allianz Arena, Munich.