The title Race is Back! Xabi Alonzo flying through Bayern test as Leverkusen close in on Europe #1731

Leverkusen 2 Bayern 1FT

Eliot Ben-Ner
The Football Hub
Published in
10 min readMar 20


On Sunday night, we would see another fixture that could add substance to a critically acclaimed title race this season in the Bundesliga. Xabi Alonzo links up with some old friends at Bay arena in Leverkusen as Bayern Munich rolls up and ready to do battle against Leverkusen. We find ourselves on the eve of the most vital fixture of this title. Race between Dortmund and Bayern Munich following the international break. Dortmund get through cologne as they jump to the top of the table, at least for now. As Leverkusen looking to ruffle some feathers in this title race with the possibility of getting a result on Sunday night right before the break. Xabi Alonzo’s found his balance with Leverkusen as his side has been resurrected under his tutelage recently returned Wirtz back in action and at his best as they start to climb the table as they are zeroing in on an improbable European spot. Despite how they started the season, the conference League position still could be up for grabs. His team could be momentarily knocking on the door with a result against his former side. Bayern Munich. Bayern Munich should be the favorites to win the champions league and has been in a tear as of late. However, don’t confuse Champions League and Bundesliga Bayern as the same. Bayern Munich can be beaten as Leverkusen presents a challenge in front of them. After Dortmund dropped points against the royal blues Bayern, Munich managed to open up a two-point advantage at the top of the table. As a result, here would set up a Munich victory against Dortmund that could ultimately settle the title. However, it has been an unpredictable Bundesliga season. Shaking up at the top of the table could provide Dortmund a huge favor in passing. Bayern Munich has been hot in-form but could a former player and colleague, Xabi Alonzo, put together the necessary performance to strengthen their European claim with a massive performance on a Sunday night against the reign of terror. Leverkusen recently got themselves into the quarterfinals of the Europa League, and Bayern Munich recently got themselves into the quarterfinals of the Champions League. They are the only two remaining German teams left in Europe. Now they meet on ahead with so much on the line with some serious implication of the title race. 61,000 filled the seats at Bay arena as Xabi Alonzo It’s put through the ultimate test against Bayern Munich.

Leverkusen operates through a strange lens as Xabi Alonzo puts Florian Wirtz upfront as a false nine. The German magician is a central midfielder with very attacking sense, but Xabi Alonzo is ready to take a risk to go for the Bayern Munich jugular. Leverkusen sat. Back as Bayern Munich were incomplete domination of possession. They move the ball fairly well, forcing Leverkusen to playback and handle it. However, swift movements from sitting back in transition looked to kick forward their attack. Not a lot of action coming from Bayern Munich. It took a while for the match to get off the ground. Although they did not have a lot of possession when they came forward, they looked like a menace to deal with. In the 15th minute, Fringpong sets through Diaby as he rips a devastating strike from distance. He couldn’t quite land it, but certainly, put Bayern Munich under that pressure immediately. A minute later, in the 16th minute, they got themselves in a dangerous position again. Palacios got into Fringpong, who tried to drive the ball into the corner from inside the box, but Sommer came up with the save. In the 17th minute, Palacios looks from a distance but can’t connect to the following corner. Everything was going in favor of Leverkusen, at least for the moment. However, the willingness at the relentlessness of Bayern Munich can always catch up to you, even despite the promising start from the host, they got kicked in the mouth by a moment of brilliance. Probably something they didn’t deserve. In the 22nd minute, as Bayern pushed forward inside the box, Goretzka found Joshua Kimmich; as he bangs it into the back of the net from close as Bayern Munich took a 1–0 lead. Leverkusen attempted to give an immediate reply through Diaby, proving to be a threat once again. Aldi found the Frenchman in a dangerous area before he unleashed from distance a well-hit strike, but Soomer managed to make the save. Leverkusen continue this uptick of pressure. Bayern Munich was looking relatively normal as the hosts, despite being behind, managed to continue to push and have some effectiveness against the champions. At the half-hour, mark Aldi links with Diaby again another touch from distance. This one is getting in the way of the defense. As mediocre as Bayern Munich has looked up to this point, their defense has certainly been sorted out over the weeks, seeming to be quite the conundrum to break down as Bayern Munich had a lot to deal with but kept them at arm’s length. Bayern Munich managed to hold on to a 1–0 lead as the first half came to a close with Bayern Munich in front, at least for now, but It does seem that there’s much to do

Bayern Munich certainly happy with the lead, but even though they find themselves in front. Problems are arising as Leverkusen put some real pressure on Bayern Munich despite not breaking through yet. Xabi Alonzo’s plan was put into motion, with Bayern Munich finding things difficult. Bayern Munich’s first half was so poor. Julian nagelsmann opted for three changes. Kingsley Coman, Jamal Musiala, and Serge Gnabry were all brought on in the second half for Bayern Munich. They could send pressure and needed to act accordingly. Immediately Leverkusen tried to hit as soon as the second half got underway. Aldi, in the 47th-minute launches from a distance, very well hit come in close as it seems they were just starting to pick up steam. In the 50th minute, Jamal Musiala begins to put forth his work as he sets up Sane, but the touch in front of goal left something to be desired as Lukas Hradecky is unmoved. Leverkusen, very soon after, would find their way in. In the 55th minute, a penalty was granted to Leverkusen as Aldi was caught on the back of his foot. There was a quick review before the referee pointed to the spot. Palacios stepped up, slicing it into the bottom left corner as they got their well-deserved equalizer.

It was all to play for now, with arguably the home side looking as the much stronger between the two. Bayern Munich tried to reply, looking to get themselves back in front. In the 62nd minute, Kingsley Coman delivers a cross into Goretzka, who follows through with the head. Lukas Hradecky comes up with a huge save as he has been on his toes tonight. Three minutes later, in the 65th minute, Jamal Musiala put for an unbelievable dribbling sequence getting through multiple defenders before dumping it off to Gnabry, and making his run into the box retrieves. It hits it, heading for the bottom corner, but minuscule margins see his strike just millimeters off the bottom corner, in what could have been one of the goals of the season. Leverkusen had this relentless display of charging into the box and trying to make a competent Bayern Munich defense uncomfortable. In the 73rd minute, Aldi draws the foul in the box yet again. Dayot Upacameano making a good challenge on the ball before clipping the attacker. It was initially given as a yellow card for diving, but after the play was reviewed, it saw he made no contact with the ball. Despite the theatrical element that may have taken place, it wasn’t nailed on penalty. The French center-back just barely missed times. A manner of inches lead to another penalty. Palacios steps up again, going for the left corner again Soomer manages to get a touch but can’t keep it out as Leverkusen takes a 2–1 lead with just 15 minutes to go.

Bayern Munich has not been at its best, and Leverkusen has taken total advantage of it. This ignited a late charge from Bayern Munich as they looked to at least escape with a point. In the 85th minute, Serge Gnabry was set through by Sane, but another top saves from the keeper in the bottom corner. There was no way in, or at least it felt that way. A moment later, Kingsley Coman, on a counter-attack, looks for the top corner but puts too much on it as it coasts over. A few minutes later in the 88th minute, Sane goes from distance but once again can’t hack it. Alphonso Daives followed with a shot from a distance, with Lukas Hradecky making yet another safe. Very late on. In the 92nd minute Bayern Munich after it again, Sane finds Gnabry, who strikes from the side of the box another save. Then in the 95th minute, on a last-gasp moment. Kingsley Coman drills in a cross De ligt, getting his head on the end of it, but it hooks to the left as the full-time whistle goes. Bayern Munich was beaten for only the second time this season as Xabi Alonzo gets the last laugh against his former side as Leverkusen took 2–1 victory at the Bay arena as the Bundesliga title race once again ignited.

Xabi Alonzo was put through a grueling test against his former side. He passed with flying colors while also messing up the title, and race and bringing it back to life. Xabi Alonzo dropped an absolute masterpiece as Leverkusen; were absolutely ruthless in their performance. Bayern Munich had the majority of the ball, but they constantly felt as if they were under pressure and under siege. Leverkusen used their speedy and athletic players on Bayern Munich frequently. They ran after them every time they had the ball pressurized them into making poor elevated decisions, and when they regain possession, they transitioned into a potent attack. Bayern Munich was poor from all angles, and it was due to the game plan that was put forth by Alonzo. Wirtz in a false nine may have been a more complicated idea, but he felt it was necessary to approach the game a certain way. The youngster had a couple of particular moments that put us on notice but didn’t have a collective performance. However, in hindsight putting him there was to release the athleticism and pace of Aldi and Dibay, also allowing Palacios to play an attacking-minded role through the middle. It was a sacrifice for the performance and the team that we didn’t realize. I doubt Alonzo will always play this way, but it was the right approach to unhinge Bayern Munich and make them uncomfortable. Bayern Munich never looked truly comfortable with the situation and found themselves in difficult scenarios quite often. Even though they had a late surge at the end with a lot of big chances to potentially level it, they were not at their best today and were simply outclassed. I think even Julian nagelsmann would acknowledge that. He was so overwhelmed that he was forced to make three changes during the break. Jamal was brought on to give them some life. He had that one moment where he nearly scored one of the goals of the season and occasionally brought a certain type of energy, but no one at Bayern Munich goes to the races today. You could argue the defensive wall was effective to a certain point, but they were just not what we expected. Leverkusen scored both their goals off penalties, but I think they deserve a whole lot of credit for putting themselves in that situation against Bayern Munich. They could not track the speedsters on the outside, and because of that, the hosts managed to win those penalties and obviously, putting themselves in that situation, helping them win the game. Dortmund will go into an international break on top of the league. The scary thing about this is Julian Brandt. Will probably be available for the game against Bayern Munich. Due to this result, the title rate ignites. Bayern Munich will probably beat Dortmund because they always do, but if Julian Brandt is at his best, he may give Dortmund a shot. I still contend that Bayern Munich will win. The title Dortmund needs to prove that they will not choke it away again. However, the timing very much favors Dortmund, giving them a luxury of getting their best player back for a match that could be very defining in the title race. They shouldn’t affect their Champions League form or their confidence to get back on the right track. Bundesliga sides always more test Bayern Munich. They have intricate ways to make them uncomfortable if they have the balls to do it. Alonzo did exactly that; he took risks, and it paid off for them. Leverkusen is now within three points of a European position. If he manages to pull it off, he will be the manager of the season. It would be even more impressive than what Union Berlin has done. Of the former players that recently come into management, Alonzo has proven. He is far superior to everyone else. Bayern Munich is stopped at the Bay arena by a man that used to wear Bayern Munich across his chest Xabi Alonzo makes his claim in his reunion with Bayern Munich.