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No more “Never”kusen

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They’ve finally done it! Bayer Leverkusen have ended Bayern Munich’s more than a decade-long streak of Bundesliga wins in dominating style, winning with five games to go and still unbeaten in the league.

The win was sealed courtesy of a 5-0 win over Werder Bremen and a second-half hattrick from wonderkid Florian Wirtz.

Here are the three architects of a win that will go down in history of German football:

Xabi Alonso

Can we really start from anywhere else? Alonso joined Leverkusen when they were second-bottom in the league, going nowhere, scrappy transfer policy and a playing style that had them staring down the barrel.

Of course, the team was always too good to be relegated but the way he drove a charge up the standings made sure that fans had something to look forward to for the new season.

And how true would that belief go on to be! He took Leverkusen to sixth place and Europa League qualification and this season has been the stuff of legends.

29 games, 74 goals scored, 19 conceded, and 25 wins with four draws. Even Bayern Munich, in their most dominating season with Pep Guardiola, never dominated to this extent. With five more games to go, getting more than nine points in those will have them outscore Bayern’s highest points tally in the last decade of 88.

Thus proving that Leverkusen are not only taking advantage of a slip-up by Bayern. They’re genuinely among the very best teams to ever grace the Bundesliga. It all began with the appointment of Xabi Alonso.

Florian Wirtz

Florian Wirtz finally became the wonderkid that was promised. Wirtz has long been touted as one of the best upcoming talents in German football but before Alonso’s appointment, he looked like he was getting caught in the malaise engulfing the team.

Alonso came in, unlocked him with a free-roaming role behind the striker, and the result has been that Germany has its latest raumdeuter.

It is poetic that Leverkusen sealed the title due to a Wirtz hattrick. After all, he has been the one who has become the spine of this side and their leader in attack.

In 41 games this season, Wirtz already has 17 goals and 18 assists, amounting to a goal or assist every 88 minutes. The flying fullbacks Grimaldo and Frimpong occupy the wide areas, leaving Wirtz to pick up positions behind the striker in a lot of space as the opposition is stretched to its limit.

Wirtz has used this to devastating effect. The whole of Germany has been put on notice. From the land of Thomas Muller, Mario Gotze, and Kai Havertz, another versatile player in the attacking areas has well and truly arrived.

The flying fullbacks 

We’re cheating a bit by including a duo in this “three architects” piece but it would be unfair on Jeremie Frimpong and Alejandro Grimaldo if both weren’t included here. If a strike pairing gave a team 17 goals and 21 assists in a league season, it would be world-class. If that is the output from a fullback duo, that’s getting into video game stats territory.

That is exactly what Frimpong and Grimaldo managed this season. Nine goals and 13 assists for Grimaldo, eight goals and eight assists for Frimpong.

It is a measure of these two players that one came on a free transfer (Grimaldo) and the other was once a reject of Manchester City’s academy. It is a combination of Alonso’s system and the hard work of these two players which has led to this output and now the Bundesliga title to go along with it.

Vatsal Gupta
A die-hard Red Devil, who has straight up not had a good time since 2012. Lives on Korean dramas and books and can often be heard talking about armchair psychological stuff.

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