Xabi 'happy and proud' as Leverkusen boss haunts Bayern
Xabi Alonso said it was an "incredible" thrill to beat Bayern Munich as the Bayer Leverkusen boss enhanced his growing reputation with Sunday's victory.
Former Bayern midfielder Alonso, who won three Bundesliga titles in a three-year spell with the Bavarians, has turned his hand to coaching since 2017 and dealt his old team a huge blow to their hopes of an 11th successive championship.
Alonso took over at Leverkusen in October, shortly after a 4-0 defeat away to Bayern, and has lifted the team from second-bottom at the time of his arrival to eighth position.
They are just three points off sixth after a 2-1 win over Bayern, who trail Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund by one point with nine rounds of games remaining.
Victory came courtesy of two Exequiel Palacios penalties, after Bayern took the lead through Joshua Kimmich.
Bizarrely, Amine Adli was booked for diving initially in both penalty incidents, before the bookings were rescinded and spot-kicks were awarded.
"The feeling after the game is incredible," said Alonso, quoted on the Bundesliga website.
"We won against one of the best teams in Europe."
His team are also through to the Europa League quarter-finals, with Alonso's first season proving a roaring success so far. They won away to Ferencvaros on Thursday, and following that up by beating the 10-in-a-row German champions was no mean feat.
"I'm very happy and proud that we were able to continue the performance from the Europa League," Alonso said. "It was very important that we equalised. We played with a lot of energy and it wasn't easy."
Referee Tobias Stieler spoke about the penalty incidents and pointed out the value of VAR, thanking the television match official.
"He was my lifesaver – and also the lifesaver for the game," Stieler told DAZN. "In the end, both teams were happy because the right decision was made."
He was glad Adli was not affronted by the decisions that initially went against him.
"The only thing left to do is take it with humour," Stieler said. "We hugged each other during the game and also after the game. Now he promised me the shirt."