Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen are five points clear of Bayern Munich after beating them 3-0. - © Simon Hofmann/Bundesliga
Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen are five points clear of Bayern Munich after beating them 3-0. - © Simon Hofmann/Bundesliga

Xabi Alonso: Bayer Leverkusen were "ready to control" Bayern Munich


Xabi Alonso was happy yet humble after Bayer Leverkusen's tactical masterclass against Bayern Munich. bundesliga.com aggregates the post-match reactions to the Big One…

Leverkusen opened up a five-point lead on Bayern at the top of the Bundesliga, winning 3-0 at the BayArena thanks to goals from Josip Stanišić, Álex Grimaldo and Jeremie Frimpong.

Watch: Highlights of Leverkusen's win


"I had in the back of my head that now they had Kim [Min-jae], now [Dayot] Upamecano was getting fit so they had four centre-backs; they could make a back three. Thomas [Tuchel] has played brilliantly with that system so we were ready to control that as well. From the 4-2-3-1 to the 3-4-3 and I think we have controlled well, to find the right moment when to press, when to wait, who could have the ball, who could not have the ball, and defensively for me it was an outstanding performance." - Xabi Alonso

"Today, for me, the defensive work of Nathan [Tella], Flo [Wirtz] and Amine Adli has been fantastic. When they have choses the right time to go and press the centre-back, when they need to cut the passes to the midfielders, they were not jumping to the double six and creating the space. [Jamal] Musiala and [Leroy] Sané were waiting to find this space [Harry] Kane was dropping - he likes to drop - so we have taken many right decisions, when and where to press and because of that we have been able to control the game, most of the time without the ball…" - Alonso

Watch: Alonso reflects on a great victory

"We dominated the game early on, but without being dangerous. Our own mistakes caused us to lose the momentum and energy, even though we were actually completely in control. You can't go 1-0 down like that with a five-man chain - there were five of them at the back. Leverkusen also took advantage of the chances we gave them perfectly. We lacked the power in attack to win." - Thomas Tuchel 

"The club made a decision at the start of the season and it is what it is. [Stanišić] is a good player and I trained a few times with him. That wasn't the reason we lost the game. We lost because we weren't good enough on the ball." - Harry Kane

Watch: Kane on a disappointing day

"We delivered our worst performance on the most important day." - Manuel Neuer

"Even though you're happy, you also somewhat feel sorry. I didn't celebrate out of respect. I'm at Bayer Leverkusen this season and I’m doing my best here. Of course you want to prove [it was a mistake to let you go], but that wasn't always in my mind. I wanted to prove it to myself first and foremost." - Stanišić

I think the way we came out, the way we wanted to press them high, I think we did that well. I think we won the ball back a lot high up the pitch [but] we didn't then transition into good attacks. We then conceded a bad goal, it was a bad goal for us to concede, and then we didn't really create too much for ourselves. - Eric Dier

"There are of course some symptoms on the pitch…  To quote Oliver Kahn: what I miss from us players are the balls in the game. We're showing significantly more in training. It's okay to feel pressure, but there needs to be energy and freedom. That's missing in our game. Sometimes we have to speak about us players. It's not just about the coach. We have many international players at the highest level, we need to step up our game." - Thomas Müller 

"I have no doubt that Leverkusen will be champions if they keep playing this way. There's no reason to doubt that they will not continue to play this way. They have grown together and have a leader in Xabi Alonso who has everything under control. Leverkusen is the big favourite for the title. - Lothar Matthäus