FEBRUARY 11, 2024
During the carnival season in the Rhineland, Bayer Leverkusen fans, many dressed in costume, had ample cause for celebration as their team, led by coach Xabi Alonso, took a significant stride towards ending Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga dominance with a resounding 3-0 victory on Saturday.
During carnival season in the Rhineland, Leverkusen fans, adorned in costume, reveled in their team’s victory as Xabi Alonso’s squad effectively shut down Bayern, denying them significant scoring opportunities.
Important line: “It was Leverkusen’s 31st game this season without a loss in all competitions, a remarkable campaign for a team which was in the relegation zone when Alonso took charge in Oct. 2022.”
“The loss for Bayern leaves the 11-time defending champion facing a possible end to its run of titles,” said Tuchel. “We’ll be the last ones to stop believing.”
“Leverkusen made it 2-0 with an incisive counter early in the second half, Grimaldo sprinting down the left flank and playing a one-two with Nathan Tella before lofting a shot over goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.”
“The game was a comprehensive tactical victory for Alonso over Thomas Tuchel and Bayern, which couldn’t break through Leverkusen’s defense.”
“Alonso switched to a back four from his usual three-at-the-back formation and benched Frimpong to deploy Stanišić on the right of defense for the first time this season.”
“Tuchel started new signing Sacha Boey, normally a right back, on the left side and he was out of position for Stanišić’s opening goal.”
“We wanted to be flexible with the ball, without the ball,” Alonso emphasized, acknowledging the vital contribution of his front three—Tella, Florian Wirtz, and Amine Adli—for their relentless off-the-ball running, which pressured opponents into turnovers.
Additionally, Saturday’s match between Union Berlin and Wolfsburg was marred by repeated interruptions, totaling around 30 minutes, due to fans protesting the league’s proposed investment deal. This disruption included fans throwing tennis balls onto the field, leading the referee to temporarily halt play and even take players off the field to the locker rooms. The ongoing protests highlight the escalating tensions surrounding the league’s discussions with potential outside investors, as fans express their opposition to the planned stake sale.
Danilho Doekhi scored the only goal for Union in the 21st minute of first-half stoppage time, securing a crucial lead.
Fifth-place Leipzig’s 2-2 draw at Augsburg means they continue to falter in the race for Champions League spots, garnering just four points from five games since the new year.
United States midfielder Lennard Maloney marked his first Bundesliga goal for Heidenheim in their 2-1 victory against Werder Bremen, while Eintracht Frankfurt settled for a 1-1 draw against Bochum and Borussia Moenchengladbach and Darmstadt ended their encounter with a goalless draw.