In-demand coach Alonso says speculation over his future won't distract Leverkusen

LEVERKUSEN, Germany (AP) — Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso has denied the speculation over his future is a distraction for the Bundesliga leaders after Bayern Munich announced coach Thomas Tuchel is leaving.

Alonso is considered one of the most in-demand coaches in European soccer for upcoming vacancies at Bayern and Liverpool — both clubs where he played — by leading Leverkusen to an eight-point lead over Bayern in the Bundesliga.

When asked about the speculation and Bayern’s history of signing players and coaches from league rivals, Alonso said on Thursday, “It’s not a problem. It’s a super opponent that we have, but there is no distraction."

Jürgen Klopp said last month he is stepping down as Liverpool manager at the end of the season after nine years in charge. Bayern's run of three consecutive losses prompted the German champion to say Tuchel will leave in June after 15 months at the club.

Fans of Liverpool and Bayern fondly remember Alonso as a player, and both clubs are looking for a new coach.

Alonso’s team is unbeaten in 32 games in all competitions and is a contender in the German Cup semifinals and the Europa League.

Leverkusen's title challenge continues on Friday at home to Mainz.

Bayern plays Leipzig on Saturday.

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The Associated Press