Xabi Alonso (c.) and his Leverkusen squad were celebrating another wild win at the weekend. - © Lars Baron
Xabi Alonso (c.) and his Leverkusen squad were celebrating another wild win at the weekend. - © Lars Baron

Alonso's unbeaten Werkself "Lost for words" after one more big finish brings title into view


Can Bayer Leverkusen be beaten at all this season? For 87 minutes against Hoffenheim on Saturday, it looked like Die Werkself may finally have come undone, but yet again Xabi Alonso's men fought back to win 2-1

"I'm lost for words to describe such a finish!" said Patrik Schick, whose winning goal in injury time established a 13-point cushion at the top of the table "It's quite extraordinary – unbelievable!"

The architect of this extraordinary moment is none other than Alonso, who announced on the eve of the game that he will be remaining as coach of the club next season. It's hardly surprising, then, that the Nordkurve was chanting "Xabi, Xabi!" at around 17:30, as the brains behind what looks increasingly likely to be a maiden Bundesliga title was celebrated together with his team.

Watch: Leverkusen's fans celebrate Alonso after the win over Hoffenheim.

"The ultimate goal," as Alonso named it - without explicitly mentioning the title - on the eve of the match, is within touching distance. Seven games separate Leverkusen from the first Bundesliga title in the club's history; only three of them need to be won.

Their latest victory, and perhaps more so the manner of it, dealt a psychological blow to Bayern which far exceeded the sum of the additional three points' advantage it had earned. Just a few hours later, the record champions succumbed to it, with that seemingly insurmountable gap remaining at 13 points following their 2-0 defeat at home to Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker.

Alonso staying with Leverkusen

It was Robert Andrich who brought Leverkusen back on level terms against Hoffenheim, concluding a move Made in Germany with Jonathan Tah and Florian Wirtz, before Schick chose the first minute of stoppage time to convert Nathan Tella's assist and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. "We showed belief to the very end," said the Czech striker, who ultimately converted one of the 36 shots which, incidentally, was the highest by any club in a single game this season.

Robert Andrich helps steer the Werkself to success. - IMAGO/BEAUTIFUL SPORTS/Axel Kohring


It is this belief which has shone through as one of the secrets to Leverkusen's success this season. They have scored winning goals in the dying minutes of three matches in the Bundesliga, and snatched a draw at Bayern Munich in stoppage time. They have come from behind to win in the UEFA Europa League and DFB Cup too, keeping them in the hunt in three competitions.

Can it be luck? For it to happen so often, it cannot be that. Leverkusen have developed a team of winners, who manage to rise to the occasion even more so when the going gets tough, and that is not lost on Alonso. "We've managed this season to keep going that extra yard, right to the end," he said.

Watch: Xabi Alonso on Leverkusen's winning mentality

And in spite of all their success so far, Alonso and Co. know that it counts for little if they do not complete the job. This may be their best ever season, after just 27 matches, and they may have become the first German club to secure their berth in next season's revamped Champions League, but those were just collateral to their win over Hoffenheim.

Could Leverkusen create history by becoming the first club ever to go a full Bundesliga season without losing? First of all, they will seek those three wins they need to be mathematically sure of lifting the title, then they can see how big a chapter will be needed in the history books to describe it.