April 19, 2024

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“Our playing style is similar to the Spanish style.”

“Our playing style is similar to the Spanish style.”

Simon Rolfs (Ebbenborn, 1982) can almost be considered a 'one club man'. He played 377 matches, scored 49 goals and distributed 36 assists. In his ten seasons (2005-2015) at Bayer Leverkusen. Good numbers for a “stopper”.

“I remember my debut, my first goal in the derby with Cologne, losing the cup final in 2009, the Champions League nights… It was a great trip, I enjoyed it very much. At first I was dying to play. However, I now have so much work that I don't have time to miss it. [ríe]”, Remember the brand.

Currently, he, along with Fernando Caro (CEO) and Xabi Alonso (coach), form the “holy trinity” of Leverkusen.. He pointed out: “In 2018, I returned to the club as head of the academy, and four months later, I became sporting director.”

“Appointing Simon is the best decision I have made in these six years.”He meets Fernando Caro. Rolfes, like a good midfielder, shares the game: “For me, this was a big challenge… But obviously I'm not alone. We have many high-level employees who have made us grow and succeed. What's going on?” It's a reflection of office work. The stronger we are as a club, the fewer mistakes we make.”

But he returns the “wink” to his “boss”: “I love working with Fernando: he is a sports fan, very experienced, curious about everything, and respects all roles… It is important that we support each other among managers to achieve success.”

Signing and future of Xavi

Rolfes also does not forget Xabi Alonso: “I enjoy our current situation, of course, but bad times help you get to know people better.”. When he arrived, we were in a delicate position in the league. There were several months of uncertainty until the team “clicked”, however Something strange has happened with Xavi: he's exactly what we thought he would be…in every way. He brought a style of play that suited the team perfectly. “I would also like to highlight his personality and the way he leads.”

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Rolfes: Xabi Alonso has a contract until 2026

The departure of Xabi Alonso at the end of the session did not occur to him as it did Xavi himself has confirmed: “He has a contract [hasta 2026] We work side by side in planning things. We are constantly updating. “At Leverkusen you can think about football day and night,” said Uli Hoeness, “and that's what we're trying to do.” “Improving the team and giving Xavi the freedom to focus on his work and forget about the rest.”

Xavi has a contract [hasta 2026] We work side by side in planning things. We are constantly updating

The Leverkusen method

“Scouting is full of mysteries. I can't reveal them all,” joked Bayer Leverkusen's sporting director. “I am happy with many signings” Cautions before stopping at Wirtz: “He's a special case. I discovered him when he was 13 years old. When I returned to the club, the first thing I did was ask when the contract was expiring. They told me that in 2020 and it became my priority. Bringing him in for free is unbelievable. “He has taken the club to another level.”

Wirtz is a special case. Signing him has become my priority. Bringing him in for free is unbelievable. He has taken the club to another level

Then he gives us another clue about his model: “It's no secret that we love the South American market, it's in the club's DNA. Our style is similar to Spanish. “I like the intelligence and technique with which football is played in Spain.”

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Hence also the signing of Grimaldo and Borja Iglesias: “Alejandro can give us added value and that was the case. He is an example for young people because of his strikes and his professionalism… It is not easy to reach the middle of the field, but Borja was in good contact with everyone. When he comes out he gives everything. He had bad luck, but he would score. certainly”.

Historic season

Leverkusen leads the league, reaches the semi-finals of the cup, and the quarter-finals of the European League. Choose a trio. Like in 2002, when he lost three titles in just 15 days.

“I don't see similarities to 2002. When you always play with the same players, you reach the end of the tournament with no energy. On the other hand, we have 20 quality players and we rotate. Then we will see what fate has in store for us.” Warn.

From the offices he designed an invincible team. “What stands out more than not losing is that we won 33 out of 38 games. We went out to win without fear.” Confirms. Presentations crowded his office. “It's not a problem. It's a good sign.” The important thing is that the players want to stay, not for us to tell them: “You can't leave.”Rolfs says goodbye.

What stands out more than not losing is that we won 33 out of 38 matches. We went out to win without fear.

This is how Rolfes remembers Carvajal and Kroos

As a player, Simon Rolfes shared the dressing room with Real Madrid's two 'sacred cows'. Many people don't remember this…but Kroos played for Leverkusen (2009-10).

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“I met him when he was 18. He was young, but he had a lot of potential. He came on loan for a season and a half. He struggled in the first six months because he didn't play much. Heynckes told him: “Don't just focus on your qualities, you have to work like a professional.” There he began to make his own path. Tony is great, not just with his passing. “His years at the highest level speak very well of him.”Rolfs says.

This is how Rolfes remembers Carvajal and Kroos' time at Leverkusen

Carvajal arrived on loan in 2012-2013: “He was a special person. At first he was shy. He trained and that was it. Then we met the other Danny.”. I think he would have liked to continue for another year. Its development was difficult to predict, He was very fast, but the quality, aggression and desire to win was there.