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Saturday April 13, 2024

Leverkusen manager downplays summer departure rumours

Sitting atop the Bundesliga, Bayer Leverkusen's journey under manager Xabi Alonso remains captivating story with 11-point lead over Bayern

By Web Desk
February 24, 2024
Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso said links to Bayern Munich and Liverpool were just speculation. — AFP
Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso said links to Bayern Munich and Liverpool were "just speculation". — AFP  

Bayer Leverkusen's manager Xabi Alonso addressed the swirling speculations linking him to coaching roles at Liverpool and Bayern Munich, stating, "Right now, it's just speculation." 

"My head is here. We have a lot to do. We're in a great situation. We should enjoy it and continue to prepare, and that's all I'm thinking about," he said during a post-match interview following Bayer Leverkusen's 2-1 victory against Mainz. 

Leverkusen's win not only secured three crucial points but also marked their 33rd unbeaten game this season, breaking the German record previously held by Hansi Flick's Bayern Munich between 2019 and 2020. 

The exceptional run has elevated Leverkusen to an 11-point lead over Bayern, who are set to face RB Leipzig on Saturday.

Granit Xhaka's early goal after three minutes set the tone for the hosts, but Mainz's Dominik Kohr quickly equalized four minutes later. The decisive moment came with a long-range strike from Robert Andrich, aided by a less-than-ideal effort from Mainz's goalkeeper, Robin Zentner.

Acknowledging his team's performance, Alonso admitted, "We were too emotional in the first half. We did well, but it wasn't great. The second goal was very important." 

The seasoned manager, with titles in Spain, England, and Germany as a player, emphasized his team's focus on themselves rather than keeping an eye on pursuing Bayern.

"We're not looking elsewhere. We know what we need to do and what we must do. The next objective is the derby in Cologne," Alonso remarked, steering away from discussions about his potential summer departure. Players like Andrich and Xhaka echoed a similar sentiment, expressing hope that their coach stays.

As Leverkusen's unbeaten streak continues, the team, sitting comfortably atop the Bundesliga, faces the challenge of maintaining their lead. Xhaka noted, "We have a lot to lose, but we're working hard and thinking game by game. It's not that we're simply on a roll; we have the quality."