Bundesliga: Not a flash in the pan: “Xabi I.” takes Bayer into new spheres

For Bayer Leverkusen's famous title hunter and coaching shooting star Xabi Alonso, the spontaneous, exuberant championship celebration was just a short escape from everyday life.

Bundesliga: Not a flash in the pan: “Xabi I.” takes Bayer into new spheres

For Bayer Leverkusen's famous title hunter and coaching shooting star Xabi Alonso, the spontaneous, exuberant championship celebration was just a short escape from everyday life. The focus remains even after the factory club's redeeming first Bundesliga title. Now Bayer's first championship season should take on even greater historical proportions, with the triple and a feat that even record champions Bayern Munich have never achieved: completing a season without a single defeat.

Already in the middle of the beer-filled stadium party after the 5-0 win against Werder Bremen, which finally made Vizekusen champions, Alonso gave the clear route to the party people in the BayArena. "It's great to be German champions. But we want more," the 42-year-old former world-class player roared in the stands as the champion team once again presented itself to the fans remaining on the pitch: "We also want the cup and Europe League!”

Rolfes: “We still have goals ahead of us”

Because of the big goals of the Bayer team, which has surpassed everything this year and is already unbeaten in 43 competitive games, the official celebration with the championship trophy and possible other trophies will, according to dpa information, only take place on May 26th - the day after the cup final against the relegation-threatened second division team 1. FC Kaiserslautern.

"We still have goals ahead of us, the big celebration will take place after the cup. Yesterday it was more spontaneous, but those are often the best celebrations," said sports director Simon Rolfes on Monday morning on ZDF. The cabin party with pizza and beer had turned into a family celebration later that evening. Rolfes didn't know where it ended either, "because the players had moved on."

With a view to the quarter-final second leg of the Europa League on Thursday at West Ham United, after the short championship break, the attention is once again on the performance in London. "We will do everything we can to reach the semi-finals on Thursday and move on," said Rolfes, whose team won the first leg 2-0. The final of the Europa League in Dublin takes place three days before the DFB Cup final. “This is something very special and we will do everything we can to make it happen.”

European experts pay homage to Alonso

The 42-year-old architect of the outstanding Bayer squad now expects the relief of having already completed the championship to be an “additional push” for the rest of the season, which should last through the summer. The European experts are already paying homage to Alonso in particular for the masterpiece and the first milestone in his young coaching career.

“Bayer Leverkusen under Xabi Alonso is already a legend,” wrote “Mundo deportivo” from Alonso’s Spanish homeland. The specialist magazine “Marca” from Madrid elevated Alonso to the nobility as “Xabi I of Germany”. "An XXL management that commands respect," said the French "L'Équipe", and the Swiss "Tagesanzeiger" judged: "The Bundesliga has rarely seen a better champion."

Bayer protagonists and experts alike agree that the club's first championship will not be a flash in the pan - as it was so often when a team other than record champions Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund became champions in recent decades.

In the past 40 years, no champion other than Munich or BVB has managed to defend the title. Sometimes there was even a painful fall, but often there were longer periods of FC Bayern dominance like in the past eleven years. "FC Bayern's series has broken, but we will now do everything we can to attack again," explained FCB sports director Max Eberl, and Bayern CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen said: "We are taking this as a direct incentive and will become even tougher work and don't rest until the bowl comes back to Munich on Säbener Straße."

Leverkusen wants to keep its team together

Whether this will actually happen so quickly this time is at least questionable. Bayern had too little chance this season, the Leverkusen squad seems so strong and balanced, in contrast to the imbalance in Bayern's line-up, who have to make a lot of changes. But the core of the championship squad remains together and will be further strengthened thanks to parent company Bayer and the Champions League millions. "We definitely have a team that will be competitive in the top group of the Bundesliga next year, there's no question about that," announced Rolfes.

Accordingly, the continued existence of the successful team without any decisive departures was also a main reason why Alonso decided to stay in Leverkusen despite advertising from top international clubs. The fact that FC Bayern also came away empty-handed in its courting of its former professional Alonso, and that the Basque could instead move directly to the ultimate club Real Madrid by 2026 at the latest, says a lot about the increased strength of Bayer Leverkusen.

NEXT NEWS