Bundesliga, Football

Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen crowned champions for the first time in their history

For the first time ever, Bayer Leverkusen led by Xabi Alonso has won the Bundesliga title.

With five games remaining, Leverkusen defeated Werder Bremen 5-0 to go 16 points clear of Bayern Munich, the winners of the previous 11 Bundesliga titles.

Leverkusen hasn’t lifted a trophy since winning the German Cup in 1993.

Amazingly, Alonso’s team is still unbeaten in all competitions and is headed for a historic triple. Leverkusen will play German Cup final opponent Kaiserslautern in the second division, and they have a 2-0 lead over West Ham going into Thursday’s Europa League second leg.

Bayer Leverkusen captain Granit Xhaka: “It’s very, very difficult to find the right words straight after the game. We did something this year that is more than special. To keep going every three days like this, with this hunger, this focus, this mentality to win every game is unbelievable.

“But today, us together, the players, the staff, the people behind the scenes, the fans – we wrote history after so many, many years. To bring this trophy to Leverkusen is unbelievable and it makes me proud of the team and proud to be here and proud to help with my experience.

“The key to this team is the hunger, how we are putting the work in day-by-day, it’s unbelievable. We showed one more time, even with 16 points ahead of the team in second, that today is the time to take it.”

“First, he (Alonso) is an unbelievable coach. Second, he is an unbelievable person, but I think even the board are giving him a lot of confidence.

“But the work we are putting in with him day-by-day, the ideas, the hunger, the mentality – everything comes from him and us together.

“I think after this, we deserve maybe more than just the league. We have some more games to play and we want more than that now.”

Following an intense weekend of Bundesliga action, Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen will play English opponents this midweek in Europe in an attempt to advance to the semi-finals of the Champions League and Europa League.

Bayern’s final opportunity to win a trophy this season is in the Champions League, where they will play Arsenal on Wednesday night in Munich for the second leg of the quarterfinal after a 2-2 draw in the first leg in London.

Leverkusen, who leads 2-0 from the first leg, will visit David Moyes’ West Ham on Thursday night for the second leg of their Europa League quarterfinal match.

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