Leverkusen coach Alonso hails 'incredible' two finals in three days-Xinhua

Leverkusen coach Alonso hails 'incredible' two finals in three days

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-05-21 22:04:15

by Oliver Trust

BERLIN, May 21 (Xinhua) -- 2023-2024 Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen find themselves set for a busy week.

While Xabi Alonso's team traveled to Dublin this morning for the UEFA Europa League final accompanied by 12,000 ticket holders, back home in Leverkusen, local authorities are busy preparing public viewing spots for many others.

On the council's official homepage, fans have found lists of pubs providing big screens to watch the upcoming two cup finals that Bayer are taking part in, with the Europa League final on May 22 against Atalanta followed by the German Cup final against FC Kaiserslautern three days later in Berlin.

"Two finals within three days, incredible," Alonso said.

Despite having claimed the club's first ever Bundesliga title with an unprecedented unbeaten season, there is not yet time for celebration.

"We might need a bigger plane taking us back," joked midfielder Granit Xhaka.

The 2023-2024 Bundesliga title was Alonso's first title as a coach, after having harvested 19 as a player in the shirts of Real Madrid, Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

"We want to win them all and we have the determination and quality to do it," Alonso said, while calling Atalanta "one of the hardest opponents you can find in European football."

The Leverkusen coach said he was expecting "a nail-biting and tight final".

With Atalanta having defeated Sporting Lisbon, Liverpool and Marseille, Alonso spoke of the Italian side's "exceptional quality".

Behind the scenes, sporting director Simon Rolfes and CEO Fernando Carro maintain intense efforts to keep the club's squad together, along with Alonso.

Several of the club's performers are being courted by other clubs, such as Germany international Jonathan Tah, Bayern Munich's on-loan defender Josip Stanisic, and full-backs Jeremie Frimpong and Alejandro Grimaldo.

"We take things as easy as possible. The core of the team will stay together but you always have changes due to personal plans," Rolfes stated, adding: "This is not disturbing our preparation for the upcoming finals."

The prospect of adding further titles to already unprecedent success is glueing team and coach together "as we have gained confidence, while we are aware we have to stay entirely focused to kick the can down the road."

For the moment, good news has dropped in regarding Germany international Florian Wirtz. The 21-year-old is improving after an injury and was named MVP of the 2023-2024 Bundesliga season.