Liverpool legend join Leverkusen as new manager
Things have recently become more interesting, especially for those who enjoyed watching Xabi Alonso play as a player and hope to see him coach at one of his former clubs, such as Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, or Real Sociedad.
Five months after leaving Real Sociedad’s B team, the 40-year-old has taken over as manager of Bayer Leverkusen, who are currently one place above the bottom of the Bundesliga. Bayer Leverkusen is a member of the Champions League.
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Although his new team has struggled in the league this season, losing five games and drawing two, they did earn a 2-0 victory over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League earlier this month.
It appears to be the right job for a man who selects his next career moves with the same care that he selects his passes, so it makes sense that he would accept this position. It has always been an option for him to move to Germany, where he finished his playing career in Munich under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola.
When Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was the club’s Director General, he was interested in bringing him back, but other club members felt he should first gain experience managing a less successful team elsewhere.
In March of the previous year, Alonso was very close to being hired as the head coach of Borussia Monchengladbach; however, despite having discussions with the club, he later announced that he had signed a new contract to remain the B-team coach for Real Sociedad until 2022. He has been looking for new opportunities since his contract expired.
The question then becomes, “Why now?” and “Why Germany?” To begin, it is critical to understand why Real Sociedad was not an option. The logical progression from youth team coach to first team manager may have appeared there.
Even though his young B-team was demoted from Spain’s second tier while he was in charge, he had led them to promotion the previous season, and he was regarded as a success for the way he brought in individual players.
In some ways, it influenced his decision to leave the club. He was soon unable to use them as B-team boss due to the rapid rate at which the younger players improved because they were performing so well for the first team.
Martin Zubimendi was one of those young players, and he recently spoke with Sportsmail about Alonso’s performance.
“I learned to appreciate the different ways other teams press you when you bring the ball out from the back, and how to tailor the way you come out accordingly,” the young holding midfielder said. “I learned to appreciate the various ways in which other teams press you when you bring the ball out from the back.”
“Xabi put a lot of emphasis on analyzing the opposition, putting training ground mannequins out on the pitch in the positions he expected the next opponent to try to press us in,” you might hear someone say.
Zubimendi describes a meticulous coach who emphasizes the details because, in the end, the details are what make the difference in high-level athletic competition.
Because the young and talented squad is far superior to its current league position, Leverkusen believes that his ability to improve individual performances will lead to success. The club’s Sporting Director, Simon Rolfes, believes that the young and talented squad is far better than their current league position suggests.
Another advantage of Alonso becoming head coach at Bayer Leverkusen is that Chelsea loanee Callum Hudson-Odoi has started three league games for Leverkusen this season. The pressure felt by coaches at other Bundesliga clubs is not nearly as intense at the BayArena.
Expectations are not as high as they are for Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund. And the intensity generated by a massive fan base hungry for success, as at Cologne or Borussia Monchengladbach, is also diluted.
He will be given time and money to spend on whatever he deems necessary under the terms of his contract, which runs until 2024. The wealth of the German pharmaceutical multinational Bayer is responsible for the club’s financial stability.
He will have no trouble communicating in German because he was a player in Munich and has continued to practice the language since then. This means that there will be no language barrier.
Because his predecessor, Gerardo Seoane, had a difficult start to the season, expectations for this year’s team are low.
It will be fascinating to see how they play as it will be to see where he takes them. Alonso was highly regarded by numerous coaches, including Jose Mourinho, Rafa Benitez, Pep Guardiola, and Carlo Ancelotti, and as a result, he will employ a variety of playing styles. His primary responsibility at Real Sociedad, as with all B-team coaches, was to provide players for the first team, which required them to play in the same manner. He now has a blank slate to work with.
Their best result this season was a 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid, which was more of a smash and grab than a dominant performance. He will, however, need to assess their losses as well as their lone other victory, which came in September against Mainz and was led by two goals from Jeremie Frimpong.
He will face the same difficulties that plagued Seoane’s tenure, such as the absence of Florian Wirtz, a key midfielder who scored 10 goals the previous season and is currently out with a cruciate ligament tear. With the addition of a defensive midfielder and the arrival of the new year, he will be able to turn the team’s fortunes around.
The results and performance of Bayer Leverkusen will now be on everyone’s radar, and this much is certain. And even more so at Liverpool, Real Sociedad, Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid, where it appears that a job will be available for him to take at some point in the future if he develops as expected, and where he will have the opportunity to take it.