Bayer Leverkusen has not lost this season. Xabi Alonso's side has entered this season without any complications and is simply dominating on all fronts. In the league, 'Aptekar' is currently quietly progressing, showing his back to Bayern. They won the group in the Europa League without any problems, and now they had to show their strength in the German Cup. The problem is that in the quarter-finals they faced a similar team in many respects, VfB Stuttgart. Suddenly the specter of surprise appeared.
Bayer Leverkusen is building a monument to itself this season. It's February and this team hasn't lost since the start of the season. Nothing, zero, not even one reckless failure. There are great coaches in this world, but this year Xabi Alonso provides evidence to believe in the existence of supernatural forces.
But it wouldn't be fair to devote all the attention to Bayer when there are other teams on German soil having a great season. Moreover, these teams include VfB Stuttgart, today's rival of “Aptekarzy”. And if we expect anyone to be able to outdo Alonso's team, it will be this exceptionally impressive team.
Today's match simply smells of the surprise coming.
Bayer Leverkusen – Stuttgart 3:2. Fight the fire using a powder fire extinguisher
If Xabi Alonso and Sebastian Hoeness, the coach of today's guests, met for coffee after the match, they would surely agree on one thing. Football is about scoring goals. Both teams that took the field today love to play forward, and they did not forget to equip themselves with great dribblers. When you watch both teams perform, it's hard not to be amazed by their style of play.
And that's how it was supposed to be today. We were relying on a fight on the field with both teams attacking each other. However, Stuttgart favored Bayer's style in the first half. He did not rush forward at all and did not push the movement towards Matej Kovar at any cost. Instead, he consolidated the midfield and allowed his opponents to make mistakes. Seriously, it was simply impossible to get into Alexander Nuebbel's penalty area. The only mediocre actions came from the left side of the pitch, where Grimaldo (below his typical performance) occasionally attempted to break down the opposition defence. The guests played consciously, allowing the hosts to play only the front sixteen. It was usually the kingdom of Florian Wirtz, but today this rising star has been completely extinguished thanks to the opposition midfield, which constantly supports the defenders.
It must also be admitted that “Die Schwaben” had the opportunity to play such a game early on. Indeed, in the 11th minute, Waldemar Anton scored a goal after a corner kick. This defender is not known for his exceptional effectiveness, but today he knew what to do when the ball fell to him. And we say that not only in the context of that goal, but also when it came to defending his goal, he was like a rock. Can not be touched.
Leverkusen had big problems before the second half. If they wanted to win again, they had to find a way to deal with their opponents. There was no doubt about entering the penalty area, and Anton and his teammates took care of that. The wingers were ineffective today and there was no point in relying on Florian Wirtz's one-man flash. There was only one gap in the entire Swabia club match.
The previously mentioned introduction.
From here, Robert Andrich scored one of the most beautiful shots this season in German football. Even someone as well-behaved as Nuebel had no right to pull that shot. Pure perfection.
𝐖𝐱𝐱😱𝐖 𝐀! 🤩
— ELEVENSPORTSPL (@ELEVENSPORTSPL) February 6, 2024
As you can see, the problem is that Stuttgart responded quickly in equally good style thanks to Chris Voerich, who could have enjoyed a shot after putting the ball under the bar from close range. However, this was not Alonso's problem at all. His players remained largely unaffected after that goal, continuing to do what they had been doing throughout the match. The guests were the problem. The fact that they could subdue such a great opponent at certain moments clearly made them extremely excited. They began to rise, and suddenly the attackers were pressing not from the area around the center circle, but from the height of the opposition penalty area. The defensive line was also high, with no particularly quick defenders.
There was much more space in the midfield because Stuttgart also planned to play more with the ball. The wait for Leverkusen's mistakes is over and the period of imposing their game has begun. The problem is that when blows were exchanged on equal terms, Bayer simply had more quality to offer. The gap in midfield and the team's leading attacking stance finally released Florian Wirtz. And one chance is enough to send a great pass.
Amine Adly had just appeared on the pitch and Wirtz had already spotted him when the Moroccan charged forward. The stationary defenders had no chance of catching the 23-year-old as he charged through the acres of space left behind them. A confident finish that Noble can only look on helplessly.
Stuttgart has woken up a bit. He realized that he could not attack his opponent with his mask open. Instead he decided to return to the style that gave them the best results in this match. He returned to the midfield and brought his defenders back to be ready to take advantage of any opportunity to launch a quick counterattack.
However, they emerged from the final exchange of blows depressed, lacking the same self-confidence as Bayer. The visitors' match no longer looks like a cunning tactic focused on winning by all means. Instead, she was simply like the poor boy's strongest friend protecting himself from the blows. This approach was no longer likely to deliver results, as Jonathan Tah showed in the final minute of the match – with a header, the score was 3-2 and the game was over.
In fact, Leverkusen did not have as many reasons to be afraid this season as they do today. At the end of the day, this team always knows what to do. Today, Xavi's tactical intelligence did not work at all, as he was constantly updating the roles of his players, trying to adapt to the course of the competition. Unwavering faith in superiority over the rival won. Stuttgart tried to change their identity from time to time, to appear more “dignified”, like a team playing beautifully from the top of the table. However, it turns out that sometimes it is enough to stick to the original assumptions.
Bayer Leverkusen – Stuttgart 3:2 (0:1)
R. Andrich 50, A. Adly 66, c. Tah 90, and. Anton 11, Chris Furysh 58.
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