Xabi Alonso drenched in beer by players after Bayer Leverkusen wins first Bundesliga title

Xabi Alonso was doused in beer by his players on Sunday in celebration of leading Bayer Leverkusen to its first Bundesliga title.

Leverkusen clinched the German league title with a 5-0 victory over Werder Bremen, a win which put the club 16 points ahead of second-placed Bayern Munich with five games remaining.

Dethroning Bayern Munich, winners of the Bundesliga for the past 11 seasons and the dominant soccer team in the country for decades, is a remarkable feat.

Thanks to prolific scoring, dramatic comebacks and breakout players, Leverkusen has gone 43 games unbeaten in all competitions this season and has now won its first trophy since 1993.

The momentous occasion sparked jubilant scenes inside the packed-out BayArena stadium, with fans rushing onto the pitch to celebrate with players. Alonso led the celebrations.

“We wanted to play games with a good mentality this season and the players quickly started working well together. After the first few matches, we saw this team can play really good football,” Alonso told reporters afterwards, per Reuters.

“But to achieve this in such a way was a top performance. Finally, it is an honor to say that Leverkusen are champions. It is totally deserved for the team, fans and the club.”

Leverkusen’s triumphant run to the league came out of the blue, with the club in dire straits when Alonso joined in October 2022.

It was second-bottom of the Bundesliga and in disarray. But in the space of 18 months, Alonso has revolutionized the club, turning it into a title-winning side with his possession-based style of play and canny signings.

In the summer, Switzerland captain Granit Xhaka, defender Alejandro Grimaldo and forward Victor Boniface joined and proved instrumental to the team’s success.

Xhaka has provided leadership in midfield, Grimaldo has added goals and assists from left back and Nigeria striker Boniface has been a threat in attack.

Leverkusen romped home to the title on Sunday, with Boniface and Xhaka both scoring before a hat-trick from Florian Wirtz.

It caps off an extraordinary season, and goes someway to banishing the demons that have long plagued the club.

Wirtz and Leverkusen fans celebrate after the German international scored the team's fourth goal against Werder Bremen. - Lars Baron/Getty Images
Wirtz and Leverkusen fans celebrate after the German international scored the team's fourth goal against Werder Bremen. - Lars Baron/Getty Images

The team has earned the moniker ‘Neverkusen’ through its propensity to suffer heartbreaking defeats in cup finals and throw away leads in the league.

Alonso’s transformative effect has meant he has attracted interest from other top clubs around Europe – most notably, Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Real Madrid – but announced last month he would be returning to Leverkusen next season.

Leverkusen also holds a two-goal advantage over West Ham in its Europa League quarterfinal tie, with the second leg to come on Thursday, and so could be in line for even more success.

“We did not talk much about the title in the changing room but it was in our heads that this year we could be champions,” Alonso said. “Now we must enjoy the moment. It has been a totally intense season so far and it is not yet over. We cannot forget it.

“Now this is behind us and we still have big goals this season.”

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