Alonso looking forward to 'special' Champions League managerial debut
Bayer Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso is looking forward to his first game in the Champions League as a manager against Porto on Wednesday.
is third in Group B after three matches with three points and will face Porto on Wednesday. Club Brugge is at the top with nine points. Porto and Atletico both also have three points.
Former Real Madrid star Xabi Alonso was appointed as Leverkusen’s manager last week and beat Schalke on his first game in charge in the Bundesliga.
Alonso said at Tuesday's pre-match news conference:
"It is something very special, for sure.
"It is one thing to play, but it is something different to coach. Hopefully this will be the first of many games in theChampions League.
"But it is always special: the lights, the atmosphere, the noise of the stadium. I think it is the most beautiful competition.
"Every game is big, and you always have to show your highest level when you play these games."
Leverkusen beat Schalke at BayArena on Saturday with four goals which is the highest victory for a coach in their first match in charge of Leverkusen. That was only their second victory in the Bundesliga this season and moved them from the relegation zone.
Porto will be without former Alonso teammate Pepe and Leverkusen's manager said he will be a loss for the visitors.
"We were team-mates in Madrid and had a great time. He's a great guy, one that you want to have on your side,"
"I wish him a great recovery. Well, from tomorrow! He's a very important player for them, the captain, but he's a leader as well.
"His absence is what it is. You never know if it's good or bad, but we know what Pepe means for Porto.
"Because of the qualities he has, because of the big personality he has. He's been able to show that hunger and that motivation the way he plays on."
Alonso also defended the Czech Republic international Patrik Schick and insists he will be back to his best form.
"His goals will come, for sure,"
"He has the quality, the personality and the desire to work on these things. He will help the team and the team will help him."
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