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Bayer Leverkusen wins first Bundesliga title, ending Bayern Munich’s 11-year reign



Bayer Leverkusen wins first Bundesliga title, ending Bayern Munich's 11-year reign

LEVERKUSEN, Germany (AP) — It’s “Neverkusen” no extra.

Coached by Xabi Alonso, Bayer Leverkusen gained the Bundesliga title for the primary time Sunday to finish Bayern Munich’s 11-year reign as champion.

In the long run, it wasn’t even shut — Leverkusen leads second-place Bayern by 16 factors after stretching its German document unbeaten run to 43 video games throughout all competitions this season.

Florian Wirtz scored a hat trick as Leverkusen routed Werder Bremen 5-0 and the sport ended with a pitch invasion Sunday to safe the membership’s first-ever German league title with 5 video games remaining.

“It’s indescribable … I don’t suppose it’s doable, or I personally can’t even understand it but,” Wirtz informed broadcaster DAZN.

“I would like just a little extra time within the locker room to essentially get my head round what we’ve achieved. However yeah, to date it’s simply been good to occasion outdoors with the followers and now have a little bit of a celebration within the locker room.”

Followers had already stormed onto the sphere when Leverkusen scored its fourth purpose with seven minutes to go, and the ultimate minutes had been performed in thick crimson smoke from supporters’ pyrotechnics whereas gamers on Leverkusen’s bench clapped alongside to songs, danced and hugged each other.

The fifth purpose within the ninetieth introduced extra followers onto the sphere — a whole bunch this time — and the referee ended the sport amid confusion and jubilation. Hundreds of supporters crowded the sphere waving flags, flares and cardboard copies of the Bundesliga trophy.

Leverkusen lastly shed its status as perennial runner-up after 5 second-place finishes within the league and one within the Champions League.

Alonso, who took over as coach when Leverkusen was within the relegation zone in October 2022, mirrored on ending Bayern’s dominance.

“Maybe it’s wholesome for the Bundesliga, additionally for German soccer, for one more crew to win,” stated Alonso, who gained three Bundesliga titles with Bayern as a participant from 2015-17.

“It’s a terrific pleasure and now we have to take pleasure in it. We want a bit extra time to understand what we’ve achieved. Nevertheless it’s an excellent second and sure, we’ll see what occurs subsequent,” Alonso stated, referring to the opposite trophies that his crew can win this season. “However now’s the time to have fun.”

Victor Boniface — beginning a Bundesliga recreation for the primary time since December due to harm — settled Leverkusen’s nerves with the opening purpose from the penalty spot earlier than Granit Xhaka hit an audacious long-range shot to make it 2-0 with half an hour to go.

Bremen folded after that with substitute Wirtz scoring a purpose similar to Xhaka’s, then one other on the counter within the 83rd and a 3rd to finish the sport, his first profession hat trick.

Leverkusen is aiming for a historic treble of trophies. Alonso’s crew will play second-division Kaiserslautern within the German Cup ultimate in Berlin on Might 25 and has a 2-0 lead over West Ham after their Europa League quarterfinal first leg.

The title places the highlight firmly on an industrial metropolis of slightly below 170,000, which has been overshadowed by bigger, extra well-known neighbors.

“Not in Cologne and Duesseldorf, no, we’re at house right here,” is the third line of the membership music performed simply earlier than kickoff. Soccer is how Leverkusen stands out.

The membership began as a staff’ crew for the Bayer pharmaceutical big 120 years in the past and is a uncommon exception in Germany, the place most golf equipment are majority-controlled by members underneath the so-called 50+1 rule.

Twelfth-place Bremen was in difficulties even earlier than kickoff because the membership accused midfielder Naby Keita of strolling out on the squad after he was disenchanted to not be within the beginning lineup. Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky handled the few possibilities Bremen created.

Within the early recreation, Ritsu Doan’s first-half strike was sufficient for Freiburg to win 1-0 at last-place Darmstadt, which moved nearer to automated relegation.

Darmstadt, with 14 factors, was 12 factors from the relegation playoff spot with 5 matches to play. No crew within the Bundesliga has ever overcome such a deficit at this stage of the season to outlive.


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