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15.04.2024Bundesliga

Werkself review #B04SVW: A happy end to the fairy tale

14 April 2024 will go down in history at Bayer Leverkusen. We’ll try to reconstruct it all for you. Not only are the Werkself the first new champions of Germany since Wolfsburg in 2009, but only twice before in Bundesliga history has such the title been won earlier than Matchday 29. It ended Bayern Munich’s 11-year reign as champions. And Leverkusen are still undefeated in their 43 competitive matches this season, equalling the all-time record of a team in the five major European leagues. We round it all up in our Werkself review…
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Summary: Boniface opens, Wirtz finishes

It was a magical day right from the start as thousands of people welcomed the team bus on Bismarckstraße ahead of the game. During it, the 30,210 fans in the sold-out BayArena provided a stunning backdrop throughout. Victor Boniface finally got the party started with his penalty in the 25th minute. The hosts continued to pile on the pressure after that, but Amine Adli's powerful strike in the 38th minute only hit the crossbar. The Werkself were still dominant in the second half and eventually got a second just after the hour mark when Granit Xhaka smashed home. Seven minutes later, substitute Florian Wirtz began to make his mark on this historic day by making it 3-0. The playmaker would complete the occasion with a hat-trick in the 5-0 win that put the finishing touches on the club’s first ever league title. You can read more about the game in our report.

Reaction: “The best team and best employees”

Xabi Alonso addressed the fans after the final whistle with an important message: “This is a very special moment for the club. Winning the Bundesliga for the first time in 120 years is something very special. The players are top, they are a top team. I'm very proud of all of them. It's an honour for me to work here.” And the Spaniard also set the important agenda for Sunday evening: “Lots of beer, German beer, tomorrow everyone has the day off. In football, sometimes things move fast, but today we have to stop and enjoy.” The beer shower for the coach at the press conference was a must. Bayer 04 CEO Fernando Carro also found the right words when celebrating on the balcony of the BayArena afterwards: “History owed us a Meisterschale. We have the best fans in Germany, the best team, the best players, the best coach, the best club, the best employees!" Hat-trick scorer Wirtz expressed his euphoria in the mixed zone: “It's indescribable. I haven’t really come to terms with it yet. I don't think we’ll stop today. We have tomorrow off, everyone can decide how long they want to do today.”

Boniface Jubel

Press review: “Hello Meisterkusen!”

Leverkusen’s success was all the media in Germany could talk about. BILD ran the headline: “Goodbye Neverkusen, hello Meisterkusen! Xabi Alonso’s team crown their fabulous season with a 5-0 win against Bremen." The Rheinische Post found the following words: “The end of the Neverkusen era: Did that really happen? Yes! Bayer Leverkusen are champions of Germany. With this title, the Werkself have put a more than 20-year-old trauma behind them.” The Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger was also full of praise: “Bayer Leverkusen have capitalised on the first of six opportunities to win their first ever league title. Bayern's permanent dominance has been broken, Bayer can still enjoy the perfect season.” The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung took a similar view: “The perennial runner-up becomes a giant. With a football feast against Bremen, Bayer 04 Leverkusen ended Bayern's streak and became champions for the first time. Alonso's next coaching masterclass and Wirtz the genius once again create the appearance of the perfect game.”

The international media also reacted euphorically - you can read about it HERE. Bill Anderson, CEO of Bayer AG, Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann and Rudi Völler also spoke about the title win. You can read all the comments HERE!

Personnel: Wirtz’s first senior hat-trick

Wirtz scored the hat-trick of his professional career in his 144th competitive outing. Bremen were also the last club in the Bundesliga this season against whom Wirtz had not yet scored or assisted. Alonso has now won 38 of his 55 Bundesliga games. Only Pep Guardiola (45) and Hansi Flick (43) have managed more victories in their first 55 Bundesliga fixtures as a coach. And to put it all into context, Bayer 04 are enjoying the best season of any club in Bundesliga history after 29 games with a haul of 79 points. With five games remaining, the Werkself could also break Bayern's all-time record of 91 points from the 2012/13 season. Leverkusen can finish with a maximum of 94 points.

Jubel ohne Grenzen

Stats: Chance after chance

The Werkself were again dominant in all areas on Matchday 29, with 20 shots to seven, 56 percent possession and a passing rate over 90 percent. You can read more about the numbers behind the title success HERE. And this team isn’t done yet…

Outlook: London then Dortmund

That’s because Bayer 04 now have two away games to come. They’re in London on Thursday for the second leg of their UEFA Europa League quarter-final tie against West Ham United with a 2-0 lead to defend. Then Alonso’s men visit Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga on Sunday. But there’s still some celebrating to do before then…

You can recap Bayer 04’s first hours as champions HERE!

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