Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen on Brink of Bundesliga Title: Europa Quarter-Final Against West Ham Up Next

Xabi Alonso

  • Leverkusen manager can win Bundesliga title on Sunday
  • Spaniard’s team to host West Ham in Europa quarter-final

Wed 10 Apr 2024 17.52 CEST

Xabi Alonso has refused to rule out managing in the Premier League in the future, despite ­disappointing ­Liverpool by ­committing his ­immediate future to Bayer Leverkusen.

Alonso, whose contract runs until 2026, is enjoying a stunning season with Leverkusen and could further enhance his reputation by clinching the Bundesliga title this weekend – an achievement that he insisted will not be on his side’s mind in their Europa League quarter-final first leg against West Ham on Thursday.

European football: Leverkusen close on Bundesliga glory after Bayern crash

The Spaniard has already ended speculation about him joining one of his former clubs, either Bayern Munich or Liverpoolthis ­summer. The 42-year-old, who also has ­admirers at Real Madrid and Chelsea, is at the start of his coaching career and wants to develop at Leverkusen, who were in a relegation battle when they hired him in October 2022.

In the long run, though, it seems inevitable that Alonso will land one of Europe’s big jobs. He has led ­Leverkusen through an unbeaten campaign and the subject of working in the Premier League came up before the German side host West Ham. “You never know,” Alonso said. “At the moment I have enough on my plate to think about, but I’m still young as a coach and for sure it’s a nice one.”

Leverkusen are 16 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga and are on the brink of ending Bayern’s run of 11 consecutive titles. They will be champions if they beat Werder Bremen on Sunday. “We’ve just talked about tomorrow [against West Ham],” Alonso said. “Afterwards we have enough time to focus on the Bundesliga.”

Alonso, who said that the Nigeria forward Victor Boniface could be fit to start, will not take West Ham lightly. His side sailed close to the wind when they faced Qarabag in the last 16. ­Leverkusen were 2-0 down at half-time after travelling to Azerbaijan for the first leg, only to draw 2-2 thanks to a last-minute equaliser from Patrik Schick. Ten-man Qarabag then went 2-0 up with 23 minutes remaining in the return game and were 4-3 up on aggregate before Schick scored twice in stoppage time.

Comebacks have become a ­Leverkusen speciality. But Alonso, who is without the Czech Republic forward Adam Hlozek, refused to entertain the possibility of meeting Liverpool in the Dublin final. “You need to fight a lot to get that destiny,” he said.













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2024-04-10 22:52:00
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