Xabi Alonso replaces Gerardo Seoane as manager
EWorld champion for the factory club, new splendor for the league: Xabi Alonso is the new coach at Bayer Leverkusen. The Spaniard replaces the recently unlucky Gerardo Seoane and should stop the free fall of the Rhinelanders. Alonso will receive a contract in Leverkusen until the summer of 2024. The club announced this the day after the 0: 2 (0: 0) at FC Porto. The former world and European champion will already face promoted Schalke 04 in the basement duel on Saturday (3.30 p.m. in FAZ live ticker for the Bundesliga and at Sky) sit on the bench.
Bayer had recently won only two of twelve competitive games under Seoane and fell to the penultimate place in the table. “With Xabi Alonso we have signed a coach who, as a player, was an absolute world-class professional for many years, an intelligent strategist and extremely successful in three of the most demanding European leagues,” said Sporting Managing Director Simon Rolfes.
Alonso’s name was already floating through the corridors of the Estadio do Dragao late Tuesday evening after Leverkusen’s annoying, because absolutely avoidable, defeat in Portugal. The Swiss Seoane tried to ignore the question of his future as Bayer coach as best he could – but it didn’t help, Alonso took over.
“This job really appeals to me”
“I know Leverkusen from my time in Germany as an excellent club. Bayer 04 have always had great players, and I see a lot of quality in the current squad too,” said Alonso: “In my talks with the club, it quickly became clear that, despite the current difficult situation, they are fundamentally still pursuing ambitious goals. I am very excited about this task and I am sure that we will live up to this claim.”
This is also urgently needed. The meager yield of only three (of nine possible) points in the Champions League was not enough for the Bayer bosses around club boss Fernando Carro. Especially since Leverkusen had already failed in the first round of the cup at third division club SV Elversberg. “Unfortunately, we have strayed from the road to success,” said Rolfes. “From our point of view, this made the change of coach absolutely necessary.” Even the fading memories of the many strong performances and third place last season were no longer of any use to Seoane. Alonso takes over.
The former world-class playmaker had last coached Real Sociedad’s second team – and had been out of a job since the summer. Alonso knows the Bundesliga very well from his time at FC Bayern (2014 to 2017) and also enjoys an excellent international reputation thanks to his positions at Real Madrid and FC Liverpool.
In terms of sport, Bayer’s situation in Portugal had deteriorated further. Four days after the 4-0 debacle in Munich, the Werkself improved in Porto, but the bottom line was their second defeat on the third day of the Champions League. Nevertheless, Seoane made every effort to “immediately look ahead again” and “take the positive things with him”. He called for being “much more efficient in front of goal” on offense. And at the back you have to be “a little bit meaner” in certain situations. Specifications that now have to be implemented without him.