MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

Xabi Alonso opens up 5-point lead in Bundesliga as Bayern Munich humbled

We’re certainly more invested in the success of Xabi Alonso in light of Jurgen Klopp‘s looming departure, and he put on a show to humble Bayern Munich and move five points clear at the top.

The ex-Red midfielder remains the name on everyone’s lips when it comes to who could rise to the challenge and take the vacant spot that Klopp will leave.

Alonso is currently overseeing the remarkable rise of Bayer Leverkusen, who he took out of the relegation discussion last season and now leads the Bundesliga title race.

Leverkusen are currently 31 games unbeaten this season – if they make it 33 they will break the German record – and their latest victory moved them five points clear at the top of the table, with Bayern Munich humbled by a 3-0 defeat on Saturday.

“You have to be strong defensively against Bayern, and we did that. The performance was superb,” Alonso said after beating his former club in a clinical and captivating display.

Josip Stanisic, Alex Grimaldo and Jeremie Frimpong were on the scoresheet for Leverkusen, a team that journalist Melissa Reddy described as “stunning, serious, adaptable, compact and clinical.”

Alonso’s side ended the match with just 39 percent possession but they dominated with and without the ball, recording an xG of 1.32 compared to Bayern’s 0.56.

They were quick of thought, capitalising on Bayern’s lapses and demonstrated the required ruthlessness that is needed when fighting for any title.

It was an impressive tactical display from Alonso, who acknowledged his player’s roles in executing the game plan – a selflessness that would fit quite nicely at Anfield.

“Without the ball, we have been able to control the spaces, not to concede many chances, and wait for our chances,” Alonso assessed after the win.

“We have controlled well to find the right moment when to press, when to wait, who could have the ball, who could not have the ball.

“The determination and conviction of the players is what comes to my mind first, I need to say thank you to them to push them and to help them keep going.”

After the victory, Alonso took in the applause from the Leverkusen fans but was quick to ensure his entire coaching team were equally celebrated – the more we see from Alonso the more you sense he is the right fit.

Just imagine if our paths cross in the Europa League