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Two sixes win the championship for Leverkusen

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Two sixes win the championship for Leverkusen

As of: April 16, 2024 10:11 a.m

What is behind the success of Bayer 04 Leverkusen? Managing director Simon Rolfes named several key moments on the way to the historic triumph.

The key to success is similar to building a house: you need clever financing, then little by little one stone can be placed on top of another. “To put it this way: the sale of Kai Havertz ensured that we were able to lay the foundation and build the ground floor, and with Moussa Diaby it was the roof and cladding. In the winter of 2020, everything that we wanted actually started now be praised,” the 42-year-old describes the process in “Spiegel”.

The end of “Vizekusen” – Leverkusen’s exhilarating party arrow right

Havertz and Diaby changes enable important player purchases

When Havertz left the Werkself for Chelsea FC three and a half years ago for around 80 million euros, Bayer 04 brought Juwel Florian Wirtz from 1. FC Cologne to Leverkusen. Diaby also moved to the Premier League to Aston Villa before the championship season in July 2023. Rolfes invested around 55 million euros in top players such as Granit Xhaka and Victor Boniface, among others.

Turning point after defeat in Frankfurt

The 5-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt on October 15, 2022, Xabi Alonso’s second game as Bayer 04 coach, was also an important piece of the mosaic on the way to the top. “We got into problems right from the start and didn’t have the necessary intensity. It’s our fault, there are no excuses. There are a lot of things to learn from today’s game,” Leverkusen’s new coach analyzed immediately after the end of the game. And drew conclusions.

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“That was the point at which we, especially “To rebuild the squad and go through it without compromise,” said Rolfes.

Former six Rolfes and Alonso tick similarly

Three years after retiring from Bayer 04 in 2015, Leverkusen’s former captain returned to the Werkself. In 2020, Rolfes took over the position of sports director from Rudi Völler and, together with Alonso, quickly established a clear philosophy. “We have the same idea of ​​football and have similar character traits,” said Rolfes about the special connection to the Spaniard. But he “won more titles, I unfortunately have to admit that.”

from left Simon Rolfes and Xabi Alonso

Rolfes and Alonso – characters, with similar skills and goals. Two former six-players who are now writing their success story together. It’s “possible” that’s why we get along so well,” said Rolfes. The position in central midfield “shapes our view of football. The modern playmaker is no longer a ten-man, but a six-man.”

One thing is certain: the team’s structure should remain. “We will build on that,” said Rolfes, who also realizes that “our players are not only in demand nationally, but internationally. And of course, an individual can always leave us.”

Simon Rolfes – “We won’t stop” arrow right

Further changes possible

Bayer Leverkusen’s managing director Fernando Carro has also not ruled out changes to the German champions’ squad for the coming season. “We are a club that has to make a big sale every year to refinance the new signings,” the 59-year-old told the Spanish sports newspaper AS: “We will probably make a big sale and with that we can finance two or three new signings .”

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It’s clear: the sale will not be Florian Wirtz; Alonso is also said to have made his recent commitment to the club dependent on the whereabouts of the young gem.

Carro sees the fact that coach Xabi Alonso will stay with Leverkusen next season as an advantage for both sides. “It’s a project we started with him and it’s very important that he continues,” Carro said. It also “undoubtedly” helps to have a coach like the Spaniard when it comes to signing players. For players like Granit Xhaka or Alejandro Grimaldo, it is “important that they know who Xabi Alonso is and that they are trained by him. The coach is always important to convince the player.”

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