Germany: DFB Pokal
0 - 1
(0 - 1)
G. Xhaka (17), K. Odilon (44)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Xabi explains rein-in of Wirtz: "We had to calm things down."

Speaking at his post-match-presser last night, Bayer 04 Leverkusen trainer Xabi Alonso clarified a scene in which he prevented Florian Wirtz from taking a quick throw in last night. 

With a literal wink, nod, and smirk the coach of Germany's red company team admitted that he wanted to ensure that his shorthanded side slowed the game down. 

Just a little over half of the second 45 in last night's DFB-Pokal had been played when cameras caught an interesting scene on the touchline. Xabi Alonso's Leverkusen - playing shorthanded since shortly before the end of the opening 45 - were clinging to a slender lead. The Werkself trainer had recently given his entire team tactical instructions during a break in the action. It appeared as if at least one player hadn't been listening. 

Florian Wirtz tried to take a quick throw-in. Xabi grabbed the German phenom to prevent him from doing so. The Spanish trainer then gesticulated wildly at his entire team, seemingly trying to get them to take matters a bit more slowly. Wirtz spoke about the scene in a post-match interview with Sky, admitting that he wanted to keep matters moving even though "we agreed we wouldn't take matters too quickly." 

Alonso - with a literal wink and a nod - had a spot of fun with the question at his post-match presser. When an ARD journalist asked him why he had grabbed Wirtz by the arm, Xabi answered "why do you think?" and allowed a few seconds to pass with a smirk on his face. When it became clear that he would need to say more, he eventually did.

"Flo always wants to have fun on the pitch," Alonso said, "He always wants to play. He has drive and hunger. But I told the guys that we need to calmly control the tempo. We don't need the stress. He was next to me so I grabbed him, stopped him, and told him to proceed calmly."

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