‘Imperfect’ Bayer Leverkusen are on the cusp of the Bundesliga title as Boniface returns

‘Imperfect’ Bayer Leverkusen are on the cusp of the Bundesliga title as Boniface returns

No group in Europe has the file that Bayer Leverkusen has this season. They’re unbeaten in 38 matches in all competitions. They presently have the Bundesliga’s finest unbeaten run ever and hope to win their first-ever title following a 10-point lead over defending champions Bayern Munich, experiences Soccernet.ng.

Their latest run has made it one of the vital thrilling Bundesliga campaigns. Many individuals, together with some Bayern followers, are, like Donald Trump as soon as quipped, bored with successful.

Leverkusen’s play below coach Xabi Alonso is pleasant to look at. They’ve grit and an easy-on-the-eye skill to conjure targets from each nook of their entrance three.

Bayer Leverkusen’s coach Xabi Alonso. Picture: Getty Pictures/Bundesliga Worldwide

Florian Wirtz is the youthful wizard coordinating the assault and has notched 10 assists and 7 targets. Spaniard Alex Grimaldo, on the left wing, has contributed 11 assists, the best within the Bundesliga, and 9 targets.

That is greater than half of the variety of targets he scored at Benfica from 2016 to 2023. Dutch star of Ghanaian heritage Jeremie Frimpong has eight targets and 7 assists, whereas Nigeria’s Nathan Tella has scored 5 targets with one help.

Having watched them thrice this season, twice of their house floor on the BayArena and as soon as on the Rheinenergie Stadion against FC Cologne (after which this interview was carried out), it’s a group constructed to perfection by the Spaniard.

“Nothing is ideal, however we have now an excellent group,” mentioned sporting director Simon Rolfes to Soccernet.ng. “ group for certain; we have now an excellent squad.

“We’ve acquired an excellent spirit, not solely technically but additionally from the spirit contained in the group, a winner’s mentality. And a never-give-up mentality is one thing I’m actually pleased with,” mentioned Rolfes, a former group captain.

Bayer Leverkusen’s Nigerian striker Nathan Tella. Picture: Getty Pictures/Bundesliga Worldwide

A brand new chapter

For a group that earned the unflattering nickname of “Neverkusen” after failing to win any of the titles it got here near successful between 2000 and 2002, this yr’s cohort is ready to banish all of the dangerous historical past and set a brand new course.

With each win, they get stronger mentally. As Nigerian striker Victor Boniface mentioned in a latest ObiOne podcast episode, “We inform ourselves, ‘Not immediately’.”

They’re 10 factors forward of Bayern, whom they defeated 3-0 at house in February after choosing a 2-2 attract Munich early within the season. Is it lastly the yr of Leverkusen?

“We’ve a powerful squad. It retains a aggressive spirit, but additionally it’s a sturdy group,” mentioned Rolfes. It’s a proven fact that they misplaced 4 key gamers to the Africa Cup of Nations in January and early February however managed to maintain their run going. There was additionally an extended damage layoff to their main scorer Boniface (10 targets and seven assists), who has begun to train again, giving the group choices in assault for the title run-in.

Victor Boniface is again at coaching after groin damage led to him lacking the Afcon and the final three months of Bayern Leverkusen’s marketing campaign.

The Bundesliga leaders have key battles within the home Cup and Europa League and are completely satisfied to have him again at this key interval.… pic.twitter.com/9K3InGmLCg

— Lolade Adewuyi (@Jololade) March 25, 2024

“We mentioned initially of the season that everyone will get his probability to be an necessary participant,” Rolfes mentioned. “Through the Africa Cup another guys confirmed that they might play and acquired their probability.”

Bayer Leverkusen’s German midfielder Florian Wirtz. Picture: Getty Pictures/Bundesliga Worldwide

The Alonso future

However one matter has been popping up constantly, with Alonso’s nice efficiency within the group’s dugout. At first, it was that Actual Madrid may very well be taken with taking him, however not too long ago, it has been about him doubtlessly changing Jürgen Klopp, who introduced his retirement from the Liverpool job. Bayern are additionally reported suitors, as Thomas Tuchel has been introduced to depart on the finish of the season.

Is shedding Alonso a matter that retains Rolfes conscious at night time?

“No, I’m relaxed about this subject. I’ve an excellent night time’s sleep, so there aren’t any issues,” Rolfes declared.

Leverkusen are nonetheless difficult on all fronts – the Bundesliga, DFB Pokal and the Europa League. The titles going to Leverkusen could be pleasant for Rolfes and his long-suffering followers, however maybe additionally for the greater than half of Germany who’re bored with Bayern’s 11-year stranglehold.

And so they have proven that they don’t must be good, simply constant and by no means giving up.

Leverkusen welcome Kevin Akpoguma’s Hoffenheim to the BayArena on Saturday at 3:30PM whereas Bayern host Dortmund within the Klassiker at 6:30PM.

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