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Xabi Alonso: Liverpool, Bayern and Barcelona candidate plays down Bundesliga derby win for Leverkusen

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Xabi Alonso has played down talk of the Bundesliga title after Bayer Leverkusen extended the impressive record which has seen the coach linked with Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

Leverkusen moved 10 points clear of Bayern at the top of the table with a 2-0 derby win at Cologne on Sunday, stretching their remarkable unbeaten run to 34 matches in all competitions with 10 games to go in their league campaign.

“It doesn’t mean anything at the moment,” warned Alonso, via translation. “We know the standings, we’ve done well so far.

“But there are still 10 games to play for us and for all the other teams. We continue to try to achieve short-term goals.”

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Helped by Cologne’s Jan Thielmann receiving a straight red card for a foul on Granit Xhaka in the 14th minute, Leverkusen went ahead eight minutes before half-time through Jeremie Frimpong.

Alex Grimaldo struck the second after 17 minutes, sealing a sixth consecutive win in all competitions in a game in which Leverkusen had 78% of possession and all five attempts on target.

Leverkusen v Cologne result: Alonso ‘happy’

“We had a lot of possession but we couldn’t create chances,” Alonso said. “The first half was a bit too emotional, with the atmosphere.

“We are happy with the win. It’s not easy to win here, in a derby with a great atmosphere.”

Second-placed Bayern failed to win for the fourth time in five games on Friday, drawing 2-2 at Freiburg.

Manager Thomas Tuchel will be leaving the champions at the end of the season, and Alonso has repeatedly been asked whether he would be keen to take over at the most traditionally successful club in Germany.

Leverkusen’s form is also likely to have interested Liverpool, who will be seeking a replacement for Jurgen Klopp at the end of the season and count Alonso as one of the heroes of their Uefa Champions League triumph in 2005.

Barcelona boss Xavi is also in his final campaign at the club. Alonso is a former Spain international, winning the Fifa World Cup and two Euro titles with La Roja.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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