Bayer Leverkusen 5-0 Werder Bremen: Xabi Alonso’s side win Bundesliga with five games to spare

Xabi Alonso says “the feeling is incredible” after Bayer Leverkusen won their first Bundesliga title with five games to spare thanks to a 5-0 victory over Werder Bremen.

Bayern Munich beat Cologne on Saturday to keep Leverkusen’s title celebrations on hold for at least a day.

But there were scenes of jubilation for Alonso’s team when the final whistle blew at BayArena on Sunday.

“We have to enjoy and celebrate today with our families, friends and fans,” said Alonso, who was showered with beer after the victory in a German tradition. “This was my first [full] season as a coach, the feeling is incredible.”

Victor Boniface’s 25th-minute penalty set Leverkusen on their way before Granit Xhaka and Florian Wirtz scored stunning goals in quick succession.

Supporters stormed on to the pitch in mid-match when star man Wirtz added a fourth in the 82nd minute, and again when he completed a hat-trick soon afterwards.

Xhaka and Wirtz added the achievement had not sunk in yet.

“Obviously, at the start of the season we couldn’t have imagined this,” said Xhaka, who joined Leverkusen from Arsenal last July.

Wirtz added: “I personally can still not realise this has happened. I will need a few moments in the changing room to understand what we have achieved.”

Leverkusen’s landmark achievement ends an era of dominance for Bayern, who had won the past 11 Bundesliga titles.

Unbeaten in all competitions this season, Leverkusen remain on course for a remarkable treble in Alonso’s first full season in charge, with the German Cup and Europa League still in their sights.

Leverkusen get the job done in style

Leverkusen fans celebrate on the pitch
Leverkusen fans invaded the pitch after the full-time whistle

There has been a sense of inevitability about Leverkusen’s Bundesliga win for weeks now.

It has been a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ the club would get their hands on a first Meisterschale – the championship shield.

There was an expectant atmosphere around the BayArena before kick-off as fans eagerly welcomed the Leverkusen team bus with confetti and flares.

Werder keeper Michael Zetterer stopped premature celebrations when he prevented Piero Hincapie from tapping in Nathan Tella’s cross in the opening moments.

But the home crowd erupted when Boniface slotted home from the spot after a video assistant referee check showed Julian Malatini impeding Jonas Hofmann in the penalty area.

Werder came close to spoiling Leverkusen’s party just before the break, but Marvin Ducksch was unable to direct his glancing header towards goal.

Xhaka’s superb 25-yard shot on the hour put Alonso’s side in firm control, before Wirtz one-upped the former Arsenal midfielder with his own long-range effort.

Play resumed quickly after supporters returned to their seats following Wirtz’s second, but a sea of red and black shirts swarmed the pitch again when the 20-year-old swept home Leverkusen’s fifth, prompting the referee to blow the final whistle.

Leverkusen were in the relegation zone when Alonso took charge in October 2022.

Barely 18 months later, they are Bundesliga champions.

Line-ups

B Leverkusen

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1Hrádecky
  • 6Kossounou
  • 4Tah
  • 12Tapsoba
  • 19TellaSubstituted forFrimpongat 62′minutes
  • 8Andrich
  • 34XhakaSubstituted forPalaciosat 77′minutes
  • 3HincapiéBooked at 47minsSubstituted forGrimaldoat 77′minutes
  • 7Hofmann
  • 21AdliBooked at 31minsSubstituted forWirtzat 45′minutes
  • 22BonifaceSubstituted forSchickat 62′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Stanisic
  • 10Wirtz
  • 13de Matos Soares
  • 14Schick
  • 17Kovár
  • 20Grimaldo
  • 25Palacios
  • 30Frimpong
  • 32Puerta

Werder Bremen

Formation 3-5-2

  • 30Zetterer
  • 22Malatini
  • 36Groß
  • 13Veljkovic
  • 8Weiser
  • 10BittencourtBooked at 47minsSubstituted forHansen-Aaröenat 77′minutes
  • 14Lynen
  • 20Schmid
  • 27AguSubstituted forDemanat 69′minutes
  • 29WoltemadeSubstituted forKownackiat 69′minutes
  • 7Ducksch

Substitutes

  • 2Deman
  • 9Kownacki
  • 21Hansen-Aaröen
  • 26Imasuen
  • 35Opitz
  • 38dos Santos Haesler
  • 40Röcker

Referee:
Harm Osmers

Attendance:
30,210

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