Bayer Leverkusen have been in irresistible form so far this season. With 34 goals scored and ten conceded, only Bayern Munich can boast a better attacking and defensive record in the Bundesliga.
Nevertheless, this signals tremendous progress for Die Werkself, who currently occupy pole position in the league. However, with the international break now here, do Leverkusen have to worry about one of their star players, Granit Xhaka?
The Swiss international is set to feature three times over the course of six days, which would undoubtedly increase his risk of injury. With how influential Xhaka has been in making Xabi Alonso’s side better than Bayern, an injury to the 31-year-old could be a significant blow for the Werkself.
However, Xhaka has confirmed that he believes he is in perfect condition for the upcoming games: “I feel comfortable and fit; I’m healthy. The fact that we now have three games with the national team is just the way it is. The most important thing is to think day by day and game by game and prepare professionally for every game. And I’m doing that very well at the moment.”
While the opinion of the midfielder will not necessarily put Alonso’s mind at ease, the Spaniard can look for inspiration elsewhere in his side. Victor Boniface has been revolutionary for Leverkusen since joining in the summer, while in recent weeks, left-back Grimaldo has come to the forefront as a goalscoring hero.
The contribution of the entire Leverkusen squad is what will get them over the line come May if they are to be crowned champions of Germany, and this is a sentiment that Xhaka has shared:
“I don’t know it any other way; in England, we didn’t have a break at all in the winter. We are very happy that we have such a large squad. If you really want to be at the top, you not only need the players who start but also those who come in from the bench. We need everyone.”
GGFN | Will Shopland