Bayer Leverkusen – VfB Stuttgart: Leverkusen Leave It Late To Extend Unbeaten Run (3-2)
Late victories have been a significant factor setting Bayer Leverkusen apart, and it was once again on show. Initially, VfB Stuttgart’s approach effectively pinned back the Bundesliga leaders. However, a slight tweak by Xabi Alonso, along with Florian Wirtz’s brilliance, proved to be the difference yet again.
Tactical analysis and match report by Rahul Madhavan.
The Xabi Alonso-led Leverkusen juggernaut has shown no signs of slowing down. Their record of remaining undefeated stands as a remarkable achievement, especially when considering their position when Alonso took over.
Currently seated atop the Bundesliga standings, Leverkusen find themselves entrenched in a captivating title race with Bayern Munich, a contest expected to extend until the end of the season. While their primary focus will be on the league, securing a semi-final berth in the cup competition would only bolster their aspirations further.
For Leverkusen, cup keeper Matěj Kovář replaced Lukas Hradecky in goal. Edmund Tapsoba rejoined the backline following his participation in the African Cup of Nations, partnering with Jonathan Tah and Piero Hincapié. Robert Andrich stepped in for the injured Ezequiel Palacios, while the wide areas saw the Frimpong-Grimaldo duo continuing, along with the Wirtz-Hofmann combination in the middle. Patrik Schick came in place of Borja Iglesias upfront.
Sebastian Hoeneß’s Stuttgart have undergone a resurgence akin to Leverkusen, transitioning from a relegation-threatened side to genuine contenders for a top-four finish. Guided by shrewd acquisitions and a clear approach, Stuttgart have established themselves as a difficult side to beat. Despite a stumbling start following the winter break, Die Roten have bounced back with two . . .