Leverkusen vs Stuttgart-quarter-final final

Last Update: 05.02.2024 20: 45

In the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal, Bayer Leverkusen and VfB Stuttgart meet, the winner is automatically the title favorite.

When Xabi Alonso was not yet working as a coach when he was still playing football himself, he trained in Munich for two years under Pep Guardiola. They had success, together they became champions twice and DFB Cup winners once. Only the Champions League they did not win. “His time here will be one to remember.”, said the player Alonso about the coach Guardiola. In fact, many things remained in the memories, the football, the titles, but also the crushes. Guardiola liked to praise. He praised his players, often finding them “super, super, super”, but he also praised the opponents.

Footballer Xabi Alonso has now become a coach, a successful coach. He also likes to praise, but there are already differences with Guardiola. Alonso did not make swarming a daily task. But VfB Stuttgart, the opponent in the quarter-finals of the DFB Cup on Tuesday evening (06.02.2024, from 20.15 in the Livestream, in the Live Ticker and from 20.35 in the full Audio reportage) has already impressed him.

Stuttgart, Leverkusen and a commonality: destruction is not up to you

“I really like the way Stuttgart play”, said Alonso. Stuttgart coach Sebastian Hoeneß also lets you play possession football, their preferences differ only in nuances. But one thing unites the coaches Alonso and Hoeneß, and it also unites their teams: Destruction is not up to you.

Both teams have met before this season. In the Bundesliga, Stuttgart and Leverkusen had parted ways 1-1 (1-0) in December. There were moments in this match when a crowd spoke for a Leverkusen defeat, especially before the break. But Alonso’s team did not lose, she has not lost a competitive match this season. Leverkusen could become champions this season, that would be a story.

Leverkusen’s reunion with Stuttgart, this time in the DFB-Pokal

And now the reunion in the DFB-Pokal. It is the Duel of two teams at the preliminary peak of their creation, an end game in the quarterfinals. The winner of this game is also the title favorite. Bayern are out, BVB and Leipzig are no longer there. For the semi-finals, the Second Division teams have so far been 1. FC Kaiserslautern and Fortuna Düsseldorf qualified, also the 1. FC Saarbrücken and Borussia Mönchengladbach on Wednesday determine a participant.

Guirassy-return uncertain

“The players have this desire to win something. The Cup is the short way and we are only two games away from the final”, said Leverkusen’s coach Xabi Alonso. “It’s a great opportunity to reach the semi-finals. And we are very, very motivated.”

But winning titles has not been a Leverkusen specialty so far. Once the club became UEFA Cup winners, that was in the 1987-88 season. Five years later, Leverkusen won the DFB-Pokal, it remains to this day the last title. Since then, Bayer has sometimes come second, at some point they had the brand name “Vizekusen” secured.

VfB Stuttgart has won several titles, five times the Championship and three times the Cup, but that is a long time ago. Last season, the club almost relegated from the Bundesliga, he saved himself only in the Relegation. And so the Swabians, currently third in the table, compete against Leverkusen in the Cup as a supposed outsider. Of course, Leverkusen is favored, says the coach Hoeneß. “But it’s a game.”

He can bet on defender Anthony Rouault, although he has suffered a broken nose bone. Maxi Mittelstädt and Chris Führich are also available, said Hoeneß. Hiroki Ito was named after his return from the Asian Cup “an Option”.

More than one Option would certainly be Serhou Guirassy, who last competed with Guinea at the Africa Cup of nations-if he gets fit. The tournament is over for Guirassy and Guinea, but now the goalscorer (19 goals in 16 competitive games for Stuttgart this season) is hit, the stomach. “We have to wait”, said Coach Sebastian Hoeneß about the Africa Cup of nations returner. “This is not a game of hide and seek, but our responsibility to the player.”

Wirtz says: “want to get to the final everywhere”

In Leverkusen you will follow this with some interest. A fit Guirassy would not make the task easier for coach Alonso’s Defense. He might just change his team. For Nathan Tella, the celebrated hero in the victory against Darmstadt at the weekend with a double pack, Jeremie Frimpong should start again on the right side. Patrik Schick could start again in the storm, Florian Wirtz should also feed him with assists. Wirtz, 20, actually always plays, Alonso does not like to do without him.

Most recently, Wirtz has sometimes been pointed out that he could win three titles with Leverkusen this season, the Bundesliga championship, the Europa League and the DFB-Pokal. He said: “We want to get to the final everywhere.”

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