Europe: Europa League
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By Rune Gjerulff@runegjerulff

Xabi Alonso speaks of "huge excitement" ahead of Europa League final, confirms Kovar will be in goal

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso spoke of his excitement ahead of Wednesday's Europa League final against Atalanta and confirmed that Matej Kovar will start in goal ahead of captain Lukas Hradecky.


Xabi Alonso and Bayer Leverkusen have come a long way since the Spaniard took over in October 2022.

After leading Leverkusen to their first-ever Bundesliga trophy, the 41-year-old Spaniard will face his first final as a coach on Wednesday when Die Werkself face Atalanta in the Europa League final in Dublin.

And speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Xabi Alonso revealed just how excited he is for the game.

“I'm still a very young coach. My time in Leverkusen so far has been an intense and wonderful experience. I played under a lot of good coaches and learned from all of them. Right now I'm learning a lot from my players. We all work together and try every day to make each other better,” Xabi Alonso told reporters. 

“We've done a lot right in this season, in terms of the squad, the style of play and the team spirit in the group. I feel huge excitement for tomorrow but as soon as the ball is rolling, the responsibility is on the players.”

Alonso also confirmed that he has a full squad at his disposal for the game, and that Matej Kovar will be in goal at the expense of captain Lukas Hradecky. Kovar has started all but one of Leverkusen's Europa League games this season and will also get the nod in the final.

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