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Bayer Leverkusen and their “Invincibles” on the Path to a Perfect Season

Once again, stellar against Eintracht Frankfurt in a resounding 5-1 victory, Bayer Leverkusen are dominating this season. A historic unbeaten streak for the German club that continues to redefine what’s achievable in football.

Who will defeat Bayer Leverkusen? This question has been asked repeatedly since the start of the season, especially in recent weeks, and we still don’t have the answer. Crowned German champions with 26 wins and 6 draws (84 points out of 96 possible), semi-finalists in the Europa League with a favourable position against AS Roma (a 2-0 win in Italy), and finalists in the German Cup against Kaiserslautern, who are fighting relegation in the German second division, Bayer Leverkusen have relentlessly pursued victory and abhorred defeat. Once dubbed “Neverkusen” for their status as the losers of German football who had never won the Bundesliga, the Werkself is now carving out a new image.

And this image continues to exceed football standards as we know them. Under Xabi Alonso’s leadership, bolstered by a well-oiled collective and magnified by individual talents like Florian Wirtz, Granit Xhaka, Victor Boniface, and Alejandro Grimaldo, Bayer Leverkusen are achieving remarkable feats. With 40 wins and 8 draws in 48 matches, Bayer Leverkusen are making history and slowly but surely approaching a perfect season. Following another 5-1 victory against Eintracht Frankfurt, where there was clearly no contest, the German champions have matched a performance dating back to 1965. At that time, Benfica had gone 48 matches without a loss. This is a European football record that Xabi Alonso and his team could surpass this Thursday when they host AS Roma.

Five matches away from an undefeated season

After this Europa League match, there will be two Bundesliga matches against Bochum and Augsburg, a likely Europa League final against Atalanta or Olympique de Marseille, and the German Cup final against Kaiserslautern, where Leverkusen could reach 53 unbeaten matches and finish the season undefeated. The road is still long for Bayer 04, but the goal is gradually coming closer. To see Bayer Leverkusen lose, you have to go back to 29th July last year in a friendly against Real Sociedad (1-0). In official competition, it was on the 34th matchday of the Bundesliga last season against Bochum (3-0). This aversion to defeat is reflected in the match scenarios.

This season, Bayer Leverkusen have salvaged draws or secured wins with goals after the 90th minute on 11 occasions (against Bayern Munich, Qarabag 3 times, Augsburg, Leipzig, Stuttgart 2 times, Hoffenheim, West Ham, and Dortmund). In recent weeks, this scenario has occurred more often, with draws clinched against Borussia Dortmund in the 97th minute and against Stuttgart in the 96th minute. From the 86th minute onwards, Bayer Leverkusen have scored 21 of the 134 goals they’ve scored this season. After a 1-1 draw snatched in added time against West Ham, Xabi Alonso lightly commented on his team’s incredible streak: “Records aren’t something I like to dwell on too much. But once we achieve them, we try to cherish them and know that they’re the result of many good things we do and that we don’t want to stop. We’re currently at 44 matches unbeaten, but if we can keep going a bit longer, that would be great. And in ten years if someone beats us, we’ll congratulate them. But for now, we’re happy to keep getting good results and having a good mentality to come back in tough moments.”

Four more matches unbeaten later, Bayer Leverkusen are nearing its goal but hasn’t reached it yet. For Xabi Alonso, the season is excellent but not perfect, and they’ll need to seal the deal in the final twenty days of the campaign: “We’re not talking about perfection. But yes, we’re very satisfied. Our level, our consistency throughout the season is excellent. But we still have some way to go. In football, it’s sometimes hard to stop. You have to be ready for the next match. And the next match is a big one for us.” Indeed, AS Roma coach Daniele De Rossi will try to be the first to halt the German machine this season, but he knows it will be tough. “They’re unbeaten even though they’ve trailed several times or managed to win matches in added time after being caught late in the game. So, in addition to playing well, they’ve reached a level of awareness, confidence, and tenacity regarding what they’re trying to achieve, which makes me have immense respect for them,” he said before the first leg match, which his team lost 2-0. It will be challenging to bring down Bayer Leverkusen under Xabi Alonso’s leadership, but the German club knows it has a target on its back in every match now…

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