The Citizen (KZN)

Bayer chasing ‘invincibil­ity’


Leverkusen – Hosting Werder Bremen on Sunday just one win away from a first Bundesliga title, Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen have their sights set on something even bigger – invincibil­ity.

With 24 wins and four draws in the league this season, Leverkusen are on the cusp of going through a Bundesliga season undefeated.

Not even the mighty Bayern Munich, who have 33 German titles, have managed an unbeaten season in the league.

The unpreceden­ted achievemen­t has led to calls for Alonso’s side to receive a golden Bundesliga shield.

In an interview published Thursday on German sport site Kicker, Leverkusen captain Lukas Hradecky (above) said his relentless side would not let up should they beat Bremen on Sunday.

“We want to create something even more special than the championsh­ip – finish the league season without defeat.

“If we become champions on Sunday, it will have no impact on how we play in the league,” said Hradecky, explaining “we need to live up to our role (as champions).”

Alonso has repeatedly said this season that his side – who are also well-placed to reach the Europa League semifinals and are in the German Cup final – should not get ahead of themselves.

Hradecky, who admitted he had “almost written off the possibilit­y of winning the title” before this season, said keeping the run going was “motivation enough”.

“Becoming champions would be outstandin­g. But there are only five games left (after Sunday) and we won’t let up.”

“Then it wouldn’t just be a championsh­ip, but one with a cherry on top.”

Bayern, who host struggling Cologne, and Stuttgart, who are at home to Frankfurt, are on 60 points.

If both Bayern and Stuttgart lose today, Leverkusen will be champions even before they take the pitch against Bremen.

While each and every Leverkusen fan would have taken that deal before the season started, Alonso’s men will no doubt want to seal the deal on their own terms – and in front of their long-suffering fans.

“We have many chances – thankfully – but we’ll try and do it on Sunday [tomorrow],” Alonso said on Thursday after Leverkusen extended their unbeaten run to 42 games in all competitio­ns with a 2-0 win over West Ham in the Europa League quarterfin­als.

“We must be motivated, but not over-motivated.”

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