“It’s historic”: Xabi Alonso relishes Bundesliga title and Europa League challenge

Xabi Alonso led Bayer 04 Leverkusen to victory as his side defeated Union Berlin 1-0 in the capital to extend their unbeaten run to 41 games.

The victory means that the Bundesliga title can be secured next weekend if Bayern Munich lose on Saturday or Leverkusen win on Sunday.

In the post-match conference, Xabi Alonso was all smiles as he discussed his side’s season, their success, and looked ahead to playing West Ham United in the Europa League on Thursday.

A “typical” win

Xabi Alonso and his Leverkusen side had to stay patient for their win yesterday.

It took a red card in first half added time and a long wait for a penalty before Florian Wirtz eventually broke the deadlock.
After the game, Alonso praised his side’s mentality:

“It’s great to win here, we had a great game, we have always had a great mentality and today, we showed that again. We trusted ourselves, we had ambition, we now know what happened with Bayern…

“We wanted to play with a lot of control, but we didn’t manage to create many chances and didn’t take enough risks. Union fought hard throughout the game and didn’t make it easy for us.

“They had good chances but so did we, we can’t attack all the time, we have to wait and be patient. Union had corners in the last ten minutes, they showed their ambition but we did what we needed to.

“I am very proud of my team. The game was typical of our season. We prepared well and went into the game with a lot of mentality. The situation is very good for us now and maybe we can celebrate something on Sunday. But before that, there is the Europa League and that is where all the focus lies.”

Playing our own game

“We didn’t follow the (Bayern Munich) game, we have our own job to do.

“We have to focus, to play our game and we are playing well so we aren’t worried what anyone else is doing.

“Bundesliga is a tough league, we know how tough, we have to take every game seriously.

“Whatever happens next weekend, Bayern playing on Saturday, it is not how we will look at it, we still have to do our job on Sunday at home (to Werder Bremen).”

Looking ahead to West Ham

On Thursday, Leverkusen play the first leg of the Europa League Quarter-Final against West Ham.

Alonso said it will be a “historic occasion”:

“We can look ahead to West Ham and the Europa League.

“Thursday will be a historic night at home, it’s what you dream of and we are dreaming of the final.

“We are setting goals and the next game is so important for us in the Europa League, it’s an historic opportunity.”

The final celebration will taste the best.

It is set to be a big week for Bayer Leverkusen, with the win against Union Berlin all but securing the Bundesliga title.

However, Alonso said that his side will have to wait to celebrate:

“We are one step away from being able to win (the Bundesliga) at home, that time will come but right now, the situation we are in is fantastic.

“We can celebrate a little bit but not too much because we have to prepare for Thursday.

“It will taste even better when we do things right. The final celebration will taste the best.”

Leverkusen won’t have to wait too long.

The hard work is almost over.

GGFN | Oscar O’Mara

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