Bayern Leverkusen have confirmed a managerial change, with Spanish legend Xabi Alonso appointed as their new head coach.
He began his coaching career the following year in Real Madrid’s youth system, before taking charge of Real Sociedad’s B team in 2019. There he spent three years and achieved promotion back to Spain’s second tier, before being relegated and departing at the end of 21/22.
Now he takes over at the BayArena as his first senior management role, replacing Gerardo Seoane who had been in the dugout with Die Werkself since July 2021.
The move represents a tough introduction to elite management for Alonso, with Leverkusen currently in the Bundesliga relegation zone, placed 17th in the table after just one win from their first eight matches - despite finishing third last season.
Leverkusen have also been hit-and-miss in the Champions League, winning one and losing two but sitting second behind surprise side Club Brugge at the midway point of the group phase.
“With Alonso, we have signed a coach who was an absolute world-class professional as a player, an intelligent strategist and extremely successful in no less than three of the most demanding European leagues,” director of sport Simon Rolfes said upon the appointment.
First up for Alonso will be promoted side Schalke at the weekend, who sit just one point ahead of B04, before a home European game against Porto - which will naturally be a competition debut as manager for Alonso, who won the Champions League twice as a player. He also earned 114 caps for Spain, including winning Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012.
Key players in the Leverkusen squad include the in-demand winger Moussa Diaby, Czech striker Patrik Schick and talented centre-back Edmond Tapsoba.
Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi is also at the club this season on loan.