Xabi Alonso led Bayer Leverkusen to a deserved victory over Bundesliga giants and his former club Bayern Munich.
At the blast of the final whistle at the Bay Arena, it was Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 better than Bayern Munich.
Not much of a surprise though for most pundits. But after a glitzy Champions League outing against French giants, PSG, and three successive Bundesliga wins, one would have expected the Bavarians to seize Leverkusen in the throat and grab a deserved win.
The reverse was the case. Bayer Leverkusen added more salts to the injury of the Bavarians.
Julian Nagelsmann started 2023 with a patchy form, drawing three games in a row with a similar scoreline like a programmed Casino.
But a sterling Champions League campaign which saw the Bavarians bundle out PSG in round 16 relieved the pressure on Nagelsmann.
Before the game against Bayer Leverkusen, the Bavarians were on a three-match winning streak and need not waiver at the Bay Arena, except their former player and now manager Xabi Alonso was a manager to beat.
Xabi Alonso took over the reins at the Bay Arena in 2022 when Bayer Leverkusen were struggling in the Bundesliga. The former Real Madrid midfielder effected drastic changes to the squad, transforming them into a potent threat.
Coming up against Bayern Munich was the real test for Alonso. Like Diego Simeone at the touchlines, the former Bayern Munich player got the best out of his solid squad with his restless touchline antics and uproar.
It was a brilliant start for the home side but Bayern Munich flashed the intimidating quality of an intending champion as the game got underway.
Joshua Kimmich gave the visitors the lead in the 22nd minute. Kimmich’s strike was entirely off the run of play.
Xabi Alonso got the best from his players in the first half but was just unlucky in front of goal.
Meanwhile, Kimmich’s strike was enough to send the Bavarians into the first-half break with the lead.
10 minutes into the second half, Bayer Leverkusen draw the game level. They were awarded a penalty. Palacios converted the spot-kick to level the scores.
In the 73rd minute, Bayer Leverkusen had another penalty and Palacios converted it again to bag his brace and overturned the scoreline.
It was a deserved win for Bayer Leverkusen with roaring Xabi Alonso on the touchlines.
The win saw Bayer Leverkusen nick the eighth spot on the Bundesliga table while Bayern Munich failed to reclaim the top spot on the Bundesliga table with Borussia Dortmund on top
The victory was significant for Xabi Alonso in his managerial career.
As a player, Xabi Alonso joined Bayern Munich from Real Madrid in 2014. He played for three years for the club, making 79 appearances with 5 goals. He won three Bundesliga titles, DFP-Pokal, and DFL-Super Cup before calling time on his football career in 2017.
He was appointed Bayer Leverkusen manager in October 2022 and has taken charge of 22 matches, 13 wins, 4 draws, and 7 losses.