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Bayer Leverkusen hopeful of keeping hold of Xabi Alonso amid wild speculation

Bayer Leverkusen have gone a long road from hot relegation candidates at the start of last season to likely becoming the first side since Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund to interrupt Bayern Munich’s long-term Bundesliga reign of dominance.

One man has been at the thick of Die Werkself’s incredible transformation, going from an inexperienced coach to arguably the most in-demand manager in Europe.

Xabi Alonso, once one of the world’s most stylish midfield players, embarked on a managerial career at Real Sociedad B in 2019, albeit without much success.

After his side suffered relegation, Leverkusen’s decision to hand the Spaniard a job amidst the club’s dreadful start to the 2022/23 campaign under Gerardo Seoane caught everyone by surprise.

Little did anyone know at the time that the 42-year-old would not only save the 2001/02 Champions League runners-up from relegation in his first season but bring them to the cusp of their first-ever Bundesliga title the following year.

Die Werkself’s Head of Coaching, Keld Bordinggaard, opened up on the club’s stance on their highly-rated manager’s future, work methods, and superb in-game management.

“Everyone at the club is hoping we can,” the 61-year-old told Flashscore when asked whether runaway Bundesliga leaders could keep hold of their high-performing tactician.

“This particular group of players and coaching staff still has so much to achieve.

“Once you’ve defined which style of play you’d like to practice, it is easier to pick the right manager and we were convinced we had the right man for the job in Xabi Alonso.”

Courted by several top European clubs, including Bayern, Barcelona and Liverpool, Alonso is yet to make a decision on his future amid Leverkusen’s outstanding unbeaten run.

Alonso’s men headed into the weekend boasting a ten-point lead on second-placed Bayern in the Bundesliga, looking to preserve their mind-blowing 36-game undefeated streak this season.

Freiburg were the latest side to fail to stop Die Werkself in their tracks when the two sides locked horns at Europa-Park Stadion on Sunday.

While paid a well-overdue tribute to Freiburg boss Christian Streich, Alonso walked away as a 3-2 victor, maintaining a handsome lead at the top of the tree.

As the Bundesliga title seems already in the bag, the German high-flyers turn to the European front.

Last week’s Europa League draw paired Leverkusen with 2022/23 Europa Conference League winners West Ham United in an exciting quarter-final tie.

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