Bayer Leverkusen’s Twitter account and FCBayern.com captured several reactions from the Bundesliga’s rising star manager, Xabi Alonso, and some of his Bayer Leverkusen players after a hard-earned 2-2 draw at Bayern Munich.
“In the first 5 minutes it was like we were still in the hotel,” Xabi said of his team’s performance. “But after 15 minutes, I saw my team. The draw is ok for us. Bayern could have win[sic], but so could have we. We are in a process and so far we are happy.”
Leverkusen capitulated early but did not stay down. Quite the opposite; they soon roared back to life and had Bayern hanging on by a thread. And somehow, they managed to stay in position to secure the draw at the death.
“We weren’t in the game at the start, but then made a few minor changes,” Xabi said of the game. “We were better in possession after that and had chances. It was calmer in the second half, we played with control. We didn’t defend well for Bayern’s second goal, but we fought until the end.”
On the return of Bundesliga prodigal son Granit Xhaka, who arrives this season from Arsenal FC, Xabi added: “Granit is a very important player for us. He communicates a lot with the defenders and with [attacking midfielder Florian Wirtz]. He has a great influence on the team and with him the team usually plays better.”
Fresh off a redemptive and somewhat surprising campaign as a goal-scoring No. 8 for the Gunners, Xhaka is now settling into a more familiar role as a deep-lying playmaker in Leverkusen’s system. And the Swiss international is fast becoming integral — setting the tone on and off the field.
“We didn’t start well, gave the ball away unnecessarily and conceded from a set-piece. However, to twice come from behind in Munich deserves respect. We played well overall, but we have to keep working hard. Then we’ll see where we’re at,” Xhaka said of the game.
German national team winger Jonas Hofmann chimed in: “It was high intensity and played at a high level. It was a real Friday night spectacle for the fans. Both teams fulfilled expectations. There was nothing between us, both teams had chances and can be happy with the draw, I think.”
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