Bundesliga: Alonso's touch of emotion: "Makes me proud"

It almost seemed to burst out of Xabi Alonso.

Bundesliga: Alonso's touch of emotion: "Makes me proud"

It almost seemed to burst out of Xabi Alonso. But at the moment of pride over the competitive game record, the coach's favorite of the Bundesliga soccer team Bayer Leverkusen had just about got himself under control and avoided the championship announcement. "It's not the time to talk about it now," said Alonso matter-of-factly after the 2-1 (1-1) win against FSV Mainz 05. "At some point the time will come to talk about it. But it's not now."

The win against Mainz was the league leaders' 33rd consecutive game without defeat. No Bundesliga team had ever achieved this before. In view of the current dominance of the league leaders and the XXL lead over FC Bayern after 23 match days, Alonso's reluctance when it comes to the championship question seems downright grotesque. And also counteracts the statements made by his players. “We are at the top now. And of course we want to be at the top until the end,” said midfield strategist Granit Xhaka about the title ambitions.

The artistic shooter also revealed certain fears in the minds of the players for the early 1-0 (3rd minute), which may lead to rather poor performances like against the penultimate team from Mainz. “Of course we have something to lose now,” said Xhaka, referring to the eight-point lead over Bayern that already existed before matchday.

With the help of Zentner

But as long as Bayer continues to win such games, if necessary with the kind help of Mainz keeper Robin Zentner, who is not suitable for the Bundesliga this time, this only feeds the players' ever-increasing self-confidence. "The only thing that counts for us is the three points. After 34 games, nobody asks how our performance was on matchday 23," said Xhaka.

Like Bayern in the strongest phase of their long-standing Bundesliga dominance, Leverkusen is currently keeping the national competition in check. Between December 2019 and September 2020, Bayern remained undefeated 32 times in a row. Leverkusen has now broken this record and, as in previous years, is dominating Bayern, who are lagging behind in the table and in terms of play.

The Rhinelanders even win games that are not as good as the one against second-to-last Mainz. The first championship ever is within reach. Alonso also seems to have gradually realized this. When asked about the broken record, the otherwise level-headed Basque became unusually emotional. “That makes me proud,” he said, pausing briefly. "It's really a pleasure to work with them," said the 42-year-old, addressing his players with sparkling eyes. "We started working together in July. Let's see how far it goes." Alonso did not allow himself to say more publicly - yet.