Soccer

Bayer Leverkusen are on the brink of footballing greatness!

Bayer Leverkusen have never won the Bundesliga, but now they are on the cusp of footballing greatness. No team has ever won the Bundesliga unbeaten. Xabi Alonso‘s high-flying Leverkusen seem poised to do it. If they beat Werder Bremen today, they will win their first-ever Bundesliga title, and they could possibly do so without losing a game should they not lose any of their following five games. The fewest number of losses in a season is one (Bayern Munich in 1986-87 and 2012-13). Intriguingly, both those losses came to Bayer Leverkusen. Football really is funny, ay?


Bayern Munich beat Köln on Saturday to exert a final, feeble, dose of pressure on Leverkusen before the Alonso-led side inevitably lifts the title. His attractive side plays pure football. They use more short passes than any other team in Europe. Averaging 63.4% possession in the Bundesliga, they snap the ball around with such accuracy and pace that other teams get dizzy just trying to keep up. The team employs a vibrant and tactically sharp style of play, in a 3-4-3 formation, distinguished by elaborate overloads, and fluid shifts in tempo.

Their confidence in possession and ability to manipulate opposition shapes allows for incisive attacks, reminiscent of Pep Guardiola’s sides. Leverkusen’s adaptability shines through, with Xabi Alonso orchestrating a team capable of dominating possession or thriving in transition as they did in their 3-0 demolition of Bayern Munich. They’ve scored 69 league goals this season, conceding just 19 in the process.

Jeremie Frimpong has been on fire for Leverkusen (Photo by Sebastian El-Saqqa/Getty Images)

Bayer Leverkusen have created a star team, but these players were not stars when they arrived. They signed players through astute planning and preparation. With the £55m raised from the Moussa Diaby sale in the summer, they managed to sign some fantastic players on the cheap.

Leverkusen have nurtured and developed these players. Exequiel Palacios has been sensational in midfield and has established himself as one of the most press-resistant players in Europe. Florian Wirtz, just 20 years old, is their key playmaker who creates chances through the middle. He is given freedom to roam and to drive with the ball and that is paying its dividends. He was poached from Köln’s u17s for just €200,000 in 2019. The German has eight goals and ten assists in the league this year. Alejandro Grimaldo, signed on a free transfer from Benfica in the summer, is a left-back who essentially operates as a left-winger. He has scored nine and assisted 11. He’s sensational.

Exequiel Palacios, an incredible footballer (Photo by INA FASSBENDER / AFP) (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

On the other side, Jeremie Frimpong plays the same position with almost the same efficacy. The pair are fantastic. Granit Xhaka, a summer acquisition from Arsenal, has brought level-headedness and wisdom to a somewhat youthful team. Their team against Union Berlin had an average age of 26.9 years old. He knows all too well about losing a league-leading position so his know-how has been key. Striker Victor Boniface has burst onto the scene, having signed from Union SG in the summer. Their team is well-gelled and cohesive and the goals are shared around the pitch.

Xabi Alonso has created a well-oiled machine. Bayer Leverkusen used to be a club that was associated with painful defeat. In 2002, the club acquired the nickname ‘Neverkusen’ after falling just short of the league title, the German Cup AND the Champions League. Now, those ghosts are being crushed. The last time Leverkusen didn’t win a league game was in January.

(Photo by Jürgen Fromme/Getty Images)

Leverkusen are undefeated and will certainly lift the trophy, but it needs to be added that they are unbeaten in all competitions. Bundesliga, Europa League, DFB Pokal. All of them.

41 games, 36 victories, five draws and zero defeats. Incredible. If Leverkusen beats Bremen today, their record will extend to 42 games, by far the longest-existing record in Europe. Not only that, they’ll add a much-needed trophy to the cabinet.

After Xabi Alonso has agreed to stick with Bayer Leverkusen despite interest from Liverpool, they could be a true threat in the Champions League next season.

Congratulations, Bayer Leverkusen!


By Nicky Helfgott / @NickyH3lfgott on Twitter

Read more about Bayer Leverkusen with our article about them in March.

Keep up with all the latest Leverkusen and Bundesliga scores and news on the 365Scores website and app!

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