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"It was a difficult game against Qarabag. We are happy about progressing to the next round in the Europa League," said Alonso at the press conference on Friday held just before returning to Germany. The Werkself have extended their record run and have now gone 16 games without defeat. Bayer 04 could clock up 31 out of 33 points in the Bundesliga on Sunday. Alonso: "These records are the consequence of our good work in the pre-season. We laid the foundations for this at the training camp. The records are not the most important thing. We don't look at them at all and we always look forward to the next challenge."
The Spaniard is now focused on the clash with Union Berlin in the Bundesliga. It's the last game before the international break and the only home game for the Werkself this month. Alonso said a "good mood" is important. The Spaniard added: "We have to recover as best as we can now to be able to play with renewed energy on Sunday." The way forward is clear: "We have to be controlled in our play. That didn't work perfectly against Qarabag. But it's not always possible. There are always phases out of possession so it's important to remain calm and confident in those phases."
The Berliners are currently sixteenth in the table with six points from ten games. Across competitions, they have picked up one point in their last 13 games and have suffered eight defeats in succession in the Bundesliga. Alonso summed up the sporting situation at Union Berlin as follows: "It's not a normal situation for Union. They didn't deserve to lose in many of the games and they are still a strong team. They played well against Napoli. They defend as a unit so we are expecting a tough game on Sunday."
Alonso will not able to call on Arthur, Patrik Schick and Edmond Tapsoba on Sunday. In addition, it remains to be seen if Exequiel Palacios can play after he did not travel to Baku due to a slight knee problem. "He's already feeling better but we’ll have to wait and see. We are not sure if he'll be ready for Sunday," explained Alonso.
The Werkself can once again look forward to great support. The home sections at the BayArena are sold out and Union Berlin are expected to bring 1,300 fans.
Bayer 04 have organised several events for the match. The Werkself are calling for donation of food for the Leverkusener Tafel e.V. community organisation. Before kick-off: Bayer 04 will accept donations from 13.30 CET at the collection points in the East (B1/B2) and the North West (entrance area near the autobahn). There will also be a transport survey on the matchday. And the game against Union Berlin is the second district matchday of the season. This time the focus is on Quettingen where there have been many events organised by and with the Werkself over the past days and weeks.
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The draw for the round of 16 of the 2023/24 UEFA Europa League was made on Friday, pairing Bayer 04 with Azerbaijani club Qarabag FK, who the Werkself already met in the group stage.Show more