Xabi Alonso: “We don’t have much time to prepare.”

Bayer Leverkusen will look to extend their unbeaten run to 36 games this weekend when they host VfL Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga. 

Head coach Xabi Alonso admits that the long trip back from Baku on Thursday night is not ideal, and he’ll have to rely on the whole squad to get the job done. 

B04’s record looked in danger at halftime on Thursday evening when Qarabag took a surprise 2-0 lead in their Europa League Last 16 first-leg tie. 

Alonso’s side simply hadn’t turned up and were punished for their slow start. However, if there is one thing we’ve learned from Alonso’s squad, it’s that they never give up. 

Florian Wirtz pulled one back with 20 minutes to go before Patrik Schick got the equaliser in the 92nd minute. It was the Czech international’s first goal since his hat trick against SV Darmstadt in December. 

Leverkusen celebrated like they’d won the league and why wouldn’t you? Everyone, including myself, believed that they’d thrown away their unbeaten record in a game many thought they’d stroll through. 

However, Die Werkself must now regroup straight away and face Wolfsburg this Sunday. 

In his press conference, Alonso touched on the long journey and the struggles that might bring: We don’t have much time to prepare and a long journey back from Baku. Last night was intense, but every game is important in the Bundesliga. We have a tough opponent and we need good energy.”

It’s one of the more unforgiving away trips you can make in a European competition and the fact that the game was tough physically and mentally will have an effect on the B04 squad. 

However, Alonso appears to be in good spirits and expects the whole team to chip in against Wolfsburg this weekend. 

We are always critical, it’s a process. We reflect on our mistakes. Our goal is to play good football and to achieve a deserved victory.” He continued: “We have enough fresh players for Sunday. We need the whole squad, that’s what I’ve always said.”

Their opponents Wolfsburg, are yet to win in 2024, having drawn six and lost twice. Head coach Niko Kovač is under massive pressure as you’d expect. There have been many names linked with his job but for now, he hangs on. 

Wolfsburg have dropped to 13th in the table with 8 points between them and the relegation zone. 

Should Leverkusen win on the weekend, they would maintain their 10-point gap at the top of the Bundesliga at the very least with 9 games remaining. 

GGFN | Jamie Allen

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