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Bayer Leverkusen: Will Xabi Alonso’s side win an Invincible Treble?

Bayer Leverkusen: Will Xabi Alonso’s side win an Invincible Treble?

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Bayer Leverkusen is two games away from finishing its title-winning Bundesliga season unbeaten

Bayer Leverkusen continues to make history.

Xabi Alonso’s side ended Bayern Munich’s dominance of German football to win the Bundesliga. They are one match away from reaching a first European final in more than two decades and are on an incredible run of 48 matches unbeaten.

That series is already a record for a team from one of Europe’s five biggest leagues: the Bundesliga, Premier League, Ligue 1, La Liga and Serie A.

But if they can hold on for just five more games, they could perhaps achieve one of the greatest achievements in football history: an unbeatable treble.

Now that they have won the national title, they can add the German Cup and the Europa League to their trophy cabinet this season.

“We want to remain undefeated and we know it gets harder every week,” said Alonso.

“Everyone wants to beat us.”

Leverkusen hosts Roma in the second leg of the Europa League semi-final on Thursday.

After winning the first leg in Italy 2-0 last week, they are in a great position to progress and raise hopes of a first European trophy in 36 years – something that suits the players more than their unbeaten run to keep it going.

“If we have to lose some games, like the second leg 1-0, we won’t say no if this takes us to the final,” Leverkusen midfielder Amine Adli said.

“Our mentality is to win every game and we will try to do this. Nothing is being done and we have seen many comebacks in football in the last year.

“You can never say the job is done.”

How does Leverkusen’s incredible unbeaten run compare?

Alonso’s side have extended their record run since last month surpassing the 44-match mark in the previous elite competition set by Juventus in May 2012.

Of their 48 unbeaten matches in all competitions, Leverkusen have won 40.

It means they are now one game away from surpassing the unbeaten run that an Eusebio-managed Benfica side managed between December 1963 and February 1965.

That performance from the Portuguese giants was the longest unbeaten run since the arrival of European competition, according to UEFA, until Leverkusen equaled it with their 5-1 thrashing of Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.

Has anyone else claimed an Invincible Treble?

Winning a trophy triple of any kind in a season is an incredible and difficult achievement for any side, but doing it undefeated takes it to another level.

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

Ajax was undefeated in the Eredivisie and the Champions League in the 1994-95 season, but suffered one defeat when it lost in the KNVB Cup.

Should Leverkusen reach the end of the season undefeated, they will have produced a campaign that will live long in the memory – and in the record books.

Image caption, Bayer Leverkusen has these matches in the agenda, plus a possible Europa League final

Are there still records to be broken?

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Arsenal won the 2003–04 Premier League title without losing a single match in the league

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

Leverkusen last suffered a defeat in a competitive match on May 27, 2023, and they have a number of other notable runs to challenge.

But Leverkusen would need to remain unbeaten well into next season to reach that point, and further still to break the record for the ‘top five’ leagues, held by AC Milan.

Fabio Capello’s ‘Invincibili’ did not lose in 58 consecutive Serie A matches from May 1991 to March 1993.

Coming late – Leverkusen’s last-ditch goals

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

Stanisic’s goal was one of 16 goals they have scored in the 90th minute or later in all competitions this season.

“There’s no explanation why it happens so often, but it’s good for us.”

European glory on its way back?

Bayer Leverkusen will look to seal their place in the Europa League final when they host Roma on Thursday.

This has been a long season for Leverkusen, with the pressure to win every game increasing as the end of the season approaches, but they show no signs of withering.

The 2-0 win in Italy last week was Roma’s first home defeat in 14 Europa League knockout games, and only their second home defeat in 33 European games at the Stadio Olimpico.

That victory is why Leverkusen could lose their unbeaten record and still reach a first European final since losing to Real Madrid in the 2002 Champions League showpiece.

However, Leverkusen are closing in on football immortality, so whatever their players say, they will want to avoid any blemish on what is already an incredible campaign.