Xabi Alonso comments on what it means to win the Bundesliga

On Sunday afternoon, Bayer Leverkusen were officially crowned Bundesliga champions after a 5-0 victory at home to Werder Bremen. For the Werkself, it represented the first German championship in their history, simultaneously ending Bayern Munich’s eleven-year dominance over the Meisterschale. 

In what was a truly special occasion for Leverkusen, their hero on the day could not have been anyone other than Florian Wirtz. A product of their prestigious youth academy, the 20-year-old scored his first career hat-trick to seal the Bundesliga title in a remarkable fashion for the Werkself.

However, the phenomenal achievement orchestrated by Xabi Alonso and his side is more than about individual heroes. Their maiden Bundesliga trophy highlights the work and sacrifice of a collective, from not just the past season or two but over the history of the club, and this was something that the Spaniard reiterated after the game:

“It doesn’t just mean something to me, not just to the club, the fans, or the team. I remember coaches like Christoph Daum, Klaus Toppmöller… they were at the club, and I want to share this championship trophy with them. It’s a story. We have to share it and enjoy it. I’m happy about what we’ve achieved and for me to be a part of it.” 

This success has been long overdue for Leverkusen. Having finished second in the Bundesliga on five occasions without ever being crowned champions prior to this season, there was a sense that they would never shake off the monicker of Bayer Neverkusen or ‘Vizekusen’.

Under Daum, the Werkself lost the 1999/2000 title on the final day after a 2-0 defeat away to SpVgg Unterhaching. Whereas, under Toppmöller, Leverkusen threw away a 5-point advantage with three games to go in 2001/2002 to allow Borussia Dortmund to claim the title.

Regardless, they have finally proven that they are no longer Vizekusen and are instead Meisterksuen. When questioned on how they would celebrate this feat, Alonso commented: “With German beer. Tomorrow is free. Football is sometimes fast; today we have to stop and enjoy the moment.”

It was a historic day for Leverkusen and German football, but is there more to see from this side? With the Europa League and DFB-Pokal still to play for, an unprecedented treble could be on the horizon.

GGFN | Will Shopland

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