Xabi Alonso led Bayer Leverkusen to victory against his previous club, after having spent three prosperous years playing in Bayern Munich’s midfield
Xabi Alonso expressed that it was a remarkable sensation to defeat Bayern Munich as the Bayer Leverkusen manager, and this triumph has further enhanced his growing reputation following Sunday’s victory.
Alonso, a former Bayern midfielder who earned three Bundesliga titles during his three-year stint with the Bavarians, shifted his focus to coaching since 2017.
His old team suffered a massive setback in their pursuit of an 11th consecutive championship due to this defeat.
After a 4-0 loss to Bayern away from home, Alonso took charge of Leverkusen in October and has successfully elevated the team’s standing from second-bottom at the time of his appointment to eighth place.
Following their 2-1 triumph over Bayern Munich, who are currently one point behind Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund with nine rounds of games left, the team is now just three points behind sixth place.
Alonso talks of ‘incredible’ win against Bayern
Two penalties taken by Exequiel Palacios secured the victory after Joshua Kimmich gave Bayern the lead. Interestingly, Amine Adli was initially shown a yellow card for simulation in both penalty incidents. But the bookings were later overturned and penalty kicks were awarded instead.
“The feeling after the game is incredible,” said Alonso, quoted on the Bundesliga website.
“We won against one of the best teams in Europe.”
In addition to their success in the Bundesliga, Alonso’s team has also advanced to the quarter-finals of the Europa League, making his debut season as coach a resounding triumph so far.
After winning against Ferencvaros away on Thursday, defeating the reigning German champions with ten consecutive titles was an impressive accomplishment.
“I’m very happy and proud that we were able to continue the performance from the Europa League,” Alonso said. “It was very important that we equalised. We played with a lot of energy and it wasn’t easy.”
Referee Tobias Stieler spoke about the bizarre penalty incidents and hailed the value of VAR, thanking the television match official.
“He was my lifesaver – and also the lifesaver for the game,” Stieler told DAZN. “In the end, both teams were happy because the right decision was made.”
He was glad Adli was not offended by the decisions that initially went against him.
“The only thing left to do is take it with humor,” Stieler said. “We hugged each other during the game and also after the game. Now he promised me the shirt.”