Bayer Leverkusen break Bayern Munich’s 11-year run to win Bundesliga title

April 15 – No longer can they be nicknamed ‘Neverkusen’. Undefeated all season, Bayer Leverkusen won the Bundesliga title for the first time in their history Sunday to end Bayern Munich’s 11-year reign.

German international Florian Wirtz scored a hat trick as Leverkusen routed Werder Bremen 5-0 to clinch the title, prompting a pitch invasion.

Xabi Alonso’s team, who have now gone a league-record 29 matches without defeat to secure their first trophy of any description since 1993, have a 16-point lead over Bayern with five matches remaining. In fact they have gone 43 games without defeat taking in all competitions.

Bundesliga runners-up five times, they can even finish the season with the treble having reached the German Cup final and the Europa League quarter-finals where they have a 2-0 first leg advantage over West Ham United.

To put Leverkusen’s success into perspective they were in danger of relegation when Alonso joined in October, 2022.

“We could not have imagined something like this when you see how the previous season went,” said Wirtz.

The title put the spotlight firmly on an industrial city of just under 170,000, which has been overshadowed by larger, more famous neighbours.

‘Not in Cologne and Duesseldorf, no, we’re at home here’, is the third line of the club song played just before kick-off.

After shedding shed its reputation as perennial also-rans, Alonso reflected on ending Bayern’s dominance.

“Perhaps it’s healthy for the Bundesliga, also for German football, for another team to win,” said Alonso, who won three Bundesliga titles with Bayern as a player from 2015-17.

The only criticism opposing fans have of the club is that it is one of the few not complying with the 50+1 rule in Germany in terms of clubs being majority-controlled by members.

But nothing should detract from their remarkable success. “When I feel that the team is behind me, the feeling that they want to believe, it’s much easier,” Alonso said in a mix of German and English shortly before his players burst into his news conference to shower him with beer.

Even before sealing the Bundesliga title, Leverkusen had already won another big victory over Bayern and Liverpool. Both were reportedly courting Alonso’s services, only for him to announce he was staying on next season.

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