Before the top game of the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel praised his Leverkusen colleague Xabi Alonso for his work.

“Xabi’s handwriting is 100 percent recognizable,” said Tuchel one day before the away game against the league leaders on Saturday (6.30 p.m./Sky). “It was an outstanding performance very early on, not just this season, but since he took over. Clearly, there is the greatest respect, even as a coaching colleague,” said the Munich player.

Alonso came to Leverkusen in October 2022 and has now turned the then stumbling Bayer team into championship favorites. Leverkusen goes into the direct duel with a two-point lead over Bayern.

Tuchel is not surprised by the Spaniard’s impact. As an active footballer, Alonso “already played in such a way that you didn’t need a lot of imagination to imagine that he could also be a top coach,” recalled the Bayern coach. “Now he’s committed to it all with the same dedication.” It is therefore completely right that Leverkusen and Alonso receive “unqualified praise” for their work, said Tuchel.

Nevertheless, Bayern will do everything in their power to inflict their first defeat of the season on Bayer and push the club off the top of the table. “We are going to Leverkusen to turn the tables and put the cards on the table,” said Tuchel and wanted “a statement performance” from his protégés.