In amongst all the player transfer comings and goings in the Bundesliga, another major signing has occurred in the Bayern Leverkusen technical area with the news that coach Xabi Alonso has signed a new contract extension with the Werkself. After an outstanding first season with the Rhine club, all parties were more than happy to pen a new deal.
To say that Bayer Leverkusen started the season badly would be an understatement. Dumped out of the DFB Pokal in the first round to 3.Liga minnows SV Elversberg, Gerardo Seoane’s side found themselves second from bottom after their abject 4-0 defeat to Bayern Munich on matchday eight.
Seoane paid the price with his job and the surprise choice to succeed him was the inexperienced Xabi Alonso. He quickly turned things around and showed that he was capable of replicating his success as a player in his new capacity as a head coach. He guided Leverkusen to the semi-finals of the Europa League and sixth in the Bundesliga standings- once again seeing the club qualify for Europe.
Alonso initially signed a two-year deal, but that has now been extended to 2026 following the promising development of the squad witnessed in his debut season. “The meticulous, analytical and self-assured approach from Xabi is really good for us as Bayer 04. At the same time, he has an outstanding environment here with us and in the Bundesliga where he can further build his profile as a still young coach” CEO Fernando Carro explained. “Both sides are very ambitious. the mutual commitment to each other also contains the clear target of achieving something for this club together.”
Sporting director Simon Rolfes was equally ebullient about the deal to keep the talented Spaniard for an extended period. “Bringing in Xabi last October did attract a lot of approval but also scepticism at the same time. We were in a difficult situation and saw in Xabi a world star but also an inexperienced coach who had not yet been in charge of a top team.
“Nevertheless, I was convinced of his ability from the start and Xabi was convinced of the quality of our squad. We overcame resistance together and created the best of all perspectives for Bayer 04. The current contract extension is an expression of great appreciation and mutual trust.”
Alonso himself is keen to build upon the success achieved last season. “I’m very grateful for the confidence Bayer 04 have shown in me. The fact we are convinced of the same ideas and direction on the pitch, creates close affinity and confidence between the club management and myself.
“There is also a very good and relaxed working basis day-to-day. That too makes working with my staff and all Bayer 04 employees great fun. I see last season as a positive. But I want more, exactly as the club does. We are now working on that with ambition.”