Wirtz Hat-trick Guides Bayer Leverkusen To Their First-ever Bundesliga Title

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What Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig failed to do in their day – put an end to Bayern Munich’s tyranny – Bayer Leverkusen have achieved.

In need of a victory over Werder Bremen to win the first Bundesliga title in its history, Leverkusen did it, and in stunning fashion (5-0), thanks to goals from Boniface (25′ penalty), Xhaka (60′) and Wirtz (68′, 83′ and 90′). And they’ve done it with five matches left to play.

Goodbye ‘Neverkusen’. Hello ‘Meisterkusen’. A ‘fairy tale’ that began with the arrival of Fernando Carro as president in 2018 and took on a new dimension with the arrival of Xabi Alonso on the bench: he took the near-bottom team, second to last, in October 2022 and, just a year and a half later, has been ‘crowned’ king of Germany.

In his debut as a coach, the former Real Sociedad, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern player has designed an unbeatable team. Literally. No matter who plays. Against Werder Bremen he rested several starters (Grimaldo, Wirtz, Frimpong, Palacios) thinking of defending in London the 2-0 win in the first leg of the Europa League quarterfinals against West Ham… and the result was the same as (almost) always: victory.

Leverkusen started off a bit nervous and imprecise. The atmosphere at the BayArena – there were 30,000 spectators, but 100,000 tickets could have been sold – was imposing. You know: it’s not every day you can win the league.

Even so, the first clear-cut chance was only eight minutes away. Tella crossed from the right and Hincapie, coming in with everything he had, slammed into Zetterer’s body.

A deflected shot by Xhaka was barely worthy of note before, in the 22nd minute, the play that changed the ‘fate’ of Leverkusen forever was ‘born’.

Malatini clipped Hofmann from behind as he was about to finish off Tella’s pass. The referee, Harm Osmers, didn’t see it, but the VAR did. Penalty. Boniface, now fully recovered from injury, made no mistake from 11 yards. The Nigerian, despite having been out for almost three months, is still the top scorer with 18 goals.


The goal set Leverkusen free. Xhaka tried his luck again and Zetterer, again, prevented a 2-0 lead in the 29th minute. He first saved Tah’s header and then blocked Boniface’s close-range shot.

Shortly afterwards, in the 35th minute, Veljkovic saved Hofmann’s shot under the post.

Adli had an even clearer chance in the 38th minute. The Moroccan was on the receiving end of a Hofmann turnover and, one-on-one, hit the crossbar. Werder Bremen, on the other hand, only created danger with two crosses on the verge of the break that were deflected by Hradecky.

Xabi Alonso stepped on the gas after the break. He withdrew Adli and brought on his own ‘genius’: Florian Wirtz. Wirtz came close to widening the gap with a shot that went just wide of the post in the 59th minute. It was the prelude to a 2-0 lead.

It was scored just a minute later by Granit Xhaka, Xabi Alonso’s alter ego. The former Arsenal player received in front of Boniface and ‘nailed’ it near the top corner. A well-deserved prize for his great season: no one passes more than him in Europe.

The icing on the cake had to come from him. The wonderkid, who Simon Rolfes had stolen from local rivals Koln, surprised Zetterer with a shot from the edge of the area in the 68th minute.

The BayArena was doing the ‘wave’. The party was on… but there was more to come. The 4-0 came in the 83rd minute and the 5-0 in the 90th minute. With Werder Bremen broken, Wirtz scored again, one-on-one in 83′ and in 90′. Hat-trick. His soccer knows no bounds: he has 17 goals and 18 assists this season.


His last two goals brought with them the only ‘buts’ of the match. The invasion of the field by Bayer fans that forced to stop temporarily, in the 4-0, and definitely the game in the 90′.

A record champion

The victory over Werder Bremen, in addition to the Bundesliga, brought with it new records for Bayer Leverkusen, which has already surpassed its record for points (79), wins (25) and goals scored (73) in a German league season this season.

They can now also boast that they have gone the longest unbeaten run in the Bundesliga (29 matches) since the start of the season. The record set by Guardiola’s Bayern (28) in 2013-14 is now a thing of the past.

Bayer has equaled another European record, the 43 matches without defeat set by Juventus in 2010-11 in all competitions. So far, they have 38 wins, five draws… and counting. They have already won the league… but they want it all. The treble, with the Cup and Europa League, is on the horizon.

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