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Bayern Munich legend Uli Hoeneß sees Bayer Leverkusen’s Xabi Alonso as a strategist

Xabi Alonso knows Bayern Munich well.

Bayern Munich vs SC Freiburg Photo by Matthias Balk/picture alliance via Getty Images

Bayern Munich legend Uli Hoeneß has admired Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso’s work from afar.

On Saturday, Hoeneß will get an up-close look at the former Bayern Munich midfielder working his magic on the sideline for Die Werkself.

“I think we can see what happens when a coach can work with his players in peace. Believe me: you can get out of your skin here at Bayern. In Leverkusen, you can really concentrate on what’s important. I think they can only talk about football day and night. And here on Monday morning we read in the newspaper that Thomas Strunz, whom I haven’t heard from since Giovanni Trapattoni, suddenly says everything the club is doing wrong,” Hoeneß told the Frankfurter Allgemeine (as captured by @iMiaSanMia). “When he left us, he was sitting in my office on Säbener Straße. He wanted to thank us for the great time. It was a great conversation. I think he has players that suit him this season. But you have to say that they were also a bit lucky with their transfers. No one else saw (Victor) Boniface. And no one knew who (Álex) Grimaldo was before.

“You also have to be lucky when a player comes to a new country, to a new team, to a new club for him to have such an impact. As a player I knew Xabi up close, as a coach I only know him from a distance. I have to say that, as a coach, he is also implementing what he did here as a strategist.”

Alonso will be tasked with putting together a plan to neutralize Bayern Munich’s attack, while also seeking to take advantage of the midfield and defensive groups for the Bavarians — neither of whom are expected to utilize player combinations that played together in the past two weeks.


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