'Don't count us out' - will Leverkusen claim invincible treble?

Bayer Leverkusen keep on making history.

Xabi Alonso's side have ended Bayern Munich's dominance of German football to win the Bundesliga, reached a first European final in more than two decades, and are on the longest unbeaten run since continental competition began.

Following their last-gasp 2-2 draw with Roma, Leverkusen are 49 matches unbeaten. This surpasses the previous record of 48 set by the Eusebio-led Benfica side between December 1963 and February 1965.

Their streak was already a record for a team from one of Europe's big five leagues - the Bundesliga, Premier League, Ligue 1, La Liga and Serie A.

And if they can keep it going for just four more games then it could see them pull off arguably one of the greatest achievements in football history - an invincible treble.

With the league title wrapped up, they could still add the German Cup and Europa League to their trophy cabinet this season.

"You can't count us out, not even for a second," wing-back Jeremie Frimpong told TNT Sports after the aggregate victory over Roma.

"No-one gives up. Everyone knows that if we go down, we will get a goal."

On 22 May, Leverkusen will face Italian side Atalanta in the Europa League final at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Hopes are high of a first European trophy in 36 years - and of keeping their unbeaten run going.

"You see the desire from the team, we didn't want to slow down. We wanted to score the next goal to keep going unbeaten, 49 times now. We are proud of it," Leverkusen midfielder Granit Xhaka said.

"We have a lot of respect for Atalanta and first of all, we are happy to be in the final. We have time now to prepare and analyse, but we have some games to go still."

How does Leverkusen's incredible unbeaten run compare?

Longest unbeaten runs. .  .
Longest unbeaten runs. . .

Alonso's side have been extending their record run since breaking the previous elite leagues mark of 44 games - set by Juventus in May 2012 - last month.

They made it 45 games unbeaten with the 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund, when they needed a 97th-minute equaliser by Josip Stanisic.

And Stanisic repeated the feat down to the minute when he cut inside from the right and scored low with his left foot to earn a 2-2 draw with Roma and send the BayArena crazy, Leverkusen fans and players alike.

Of their 49 undefeated games across all competitions, Leverkusen have won 40.

It means they have surpassed the record set by the great Benfica side of the 1960s, which was previously the longest unbeaten run since continental competitions such as the European Cup - later the Champions League - were introduced.

Leverkusen equalled it with a 5-1 thrashing of Eintracht Frankfurt - and now stand alone.

Has anyone else claimed an invincible treble?

Winning a trophy treble of any sort in a season is an incredible and difficult achievement for any side, but to do it unbeaten takes it to another level.

Celtic memorably claimed a domestic treble in 2016-17 without losing a game but, as brilliant as that clean sweep was, they did taste defeat in the Champions League and went out at the group stage.

Ajax famously were unbeaten in the Eredivisie and Champions League in the 1994-95 season but had one defeat when they lost in the KNVB Cup.

Should Leverkusen get to the end of the season unbeaten then they will have produced a campaign to live long in the memory - and in the record books.

Graphic of Leverkusen's remaining fixtures
[BBC Sport]

Any more records to be broken?

Arsenal players celebrate winning the 2003-04 Premier League
Arsenal won the 2003-04 Premier League title without losing a game [Getty Images]

Alonso's remarkable side are just two games away from going the entire league campaign unbeaten.

Leverkusen last suffered defeat in a competitive game on 27 May 2023, and they may yet challenge some other notable runs.

In terms of Europe's elite divisions, Arsenal went 49 league games undefeated from May 2003 to October 2004, taking in their 'Invincibles' season.

But Leverkusen would need to stay unbeaten deep into next season to reach that mark, and further still to beat the record for the 'top five' leagues, which is held by AC Milan.

Fabio Capello's 'Invincibili' did not lose in 58 consecutive Serie A games from May 1991 until March 1993.

Longest unbeaten league runs. .  .
Longest unbeaten league runs. . .

Leaving it late - Leverkusen's last-ditch goals

Leverkusen have left it late on a number of occasions to keep their incredible run going.

Stanisic's goal against Roma was the 17th they have scored in the 90th minute or later across all competitions this season, equal with Liverpool as the most of any team in Europe.

"It really is a fairytale," former Bayern Munich midfielder Owen Hargreaves told TNT Sports.

"It is really special. Something like this happens very very rarely, but to do it at the elite level [is incredible]. I think they are going to go unbeaten.

"Some things are just fate. I believe it is just written for this Bayer Leverkusen team to go unbeaten."

European glory on its way back?

This has been a long campaign for Leverkusen - with the pressure to win every game increasing as the end of the season draws closer, and that almost told in the second leg against Roma.

They missed numerous chances against the Italians, who took a 2-0 lead on the night through a pair of Leandro Paredes penalties.

A comical own goal by Gianluca Mancini put Leverkusen back ahead in the tie but still 2-1 behind in the second leg, and they looked set to sacrifice their unbeaten run for a place in the Europa League final.

But ultimately Leverkusen were able to have both, and double the reason for the players to streak on to the pitch and celebrate at the final whistle.

Leverkusen now face Atalanta in a first European final since they lost to Real Madrid in the 2002 Champions League showpiece.