With Xabi Alonso settling into his new surroundings at Bayern Munich with ease, Sarah Fitzpatrick looks at just how much of a bargain the 32-year-old is.
Bayern were hit by a massive blow in the summer when key midfielder Javi Martinez suffered a cruciate ligament injury and were left without options to fill in the midfielder’s position after selling Toni Kroos to Real Madrid. Many were unsure who they would look to bring in to fill in the gap in their squad but all of a sudden they had quickly secured the signature of former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso for less than €10 million, which is pennies in the football word.
Pep Guardiola had brought in the midfielder on a 2 year deal and it seemed that the deal had also suited the former World Cup winner also as Alonso stated that he decided to join Bayern Munich because,
“I wanted a fresh start in a new city, I felt it was the best thing for my career.”
Before the season began, many Bayern fans were left feeling disappointed with the transfer window that had passed as they lost a key player in Toni Kroos and were dealt a major blow by the injury that Javi Martinez suffered while they felt that this midfield position wasn’t being reinforced for the future by bringing in a 32-year-old midfielder in Alonso.
However, these disappointed Bayern fans are probably feeling much more positive about their team after witnessing the blistering start that Xabi Alonso has made in his Bayern career. The Spanish midfielder has had a flawless start in the Bundesliga which has included breaking records in the league through his outstanding performances.
Although, the most impressive aspect of Alonso’s start is that he hasn’t needed any time to settle in or adapt to German football and it was even reported that he completed his debut without even training with his new team mates before. The Spanish midfielder is just different class.
Many could just say that the midfield star could just have got lucky with his amazing start in German football but there is no denying his talent and intelligence on the football field when you analyse his statistics from his first few appearances so far in the Bundesliga.
After just 35 days with Bayern Munich, Xabi Alonso had already received five man of the match awards, made the most passes in a game, had the most touches in a game and covered the most ground in a game.
The most impressive factor of his start at Bayern was the new record he set during a 2-0 win over Cologne as he made the most touches ever in a Bundesliga game by having a whopping 204 touches in a game. Alonso’s new teammate and German sensation Thomas Muller applauded the new record by claiming,
“204 touches? I’d need a whole season to do that.”
In his first five games, Alonso had 679 touches and made 558 successful passes which gave him a successful passing rate of 89%. These statistics are impressive but the midfield maestro has somehow managed to improve these statistics in his most recent games as his successful passing rate for his first seven Bundesliga games is an unbelievable 90%.
Alonso’s average pass length is 21 metres and he has created 10 chances while his average passes per game have gone up from 123.4 passes to 125 passes per game. This makes Xabi Alonso the player with the highest average of passes per game in the top five leagues in Europe, which is an astonishing achievement for a player who has just moved to a new league which plays a completely different style of football to what he was used to in La Liga and he even compared the two styles of football himself by explaining,
“Real Madrid is rock and roll while Bayern is like jazz.”
In his most recent Bundesliga appearance, Alonso managed to score his first goal for his new club with a cheeky but cleverly placed low free kick in a game where a dominant Bayern Munich managed to defeat Werder Bremen 6-0. Alonso only played 60 minutes of the game before being replaced by Swiss star Xherdan Shaqiri but still Alonso managed to complete 103 passes in this time, which was more passes than the entire Werder Bremen team managed to put together.
Pep Guardiola has outlined Alonso’s importance to his Bayern team this season by claiming before their Champions League tie earlier in the season with CSKA Moscow that
“without Xabi we cannot win.”
This shows the influence that Alonso has at his new club as he seems to dictate the pace that Bayern play at and everything Bayern do going forward seems to start with Alonso at a deep position. It would seem that the way to stop Bayern is to try and stop Alonso but no team has been successful at doing that so far this season.
Bayern Munich Honorary President Franz Beckenbauer has already said,
“I have been saying this for weeks. Alonso is our most important signing”.
The Spanish midfielder has also got the seal of approval from the man who he came in to cover for as injured Bayern star Javi Martinez has claimed that,
“Xabi Alonso is one of the best, if not the best midfielder in the world.”
It will be interesting to see what will happen to the Bayern line up when Martinez returns from injury as Pep Guardiola will have to decide whether Martinez or Alonso is his first choice defensive midfielder but many managers would love to have that problem at their club.
Alonso on the other hand isn’t too fussed about talking about competition at Bayern and instead is just looking forward to winning titles with the German club as he told the Bayern fans on his arrival that,
“I’m looking forward to winning titles at FC Bayern. It’s a new league, new country and a new experience.”
Sarah Fitzpatrick, Pundit Arena
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