Gian Piero Gasperini and Ademola Lookman both cherished creating Atalanta history after ending Bayer Leverkusen's unbeaten run and securing Europa League glory.

Lookman produced a performance worthy of the most important European moment in Atalanta's history, securing the club's first-ever major trophy on the continent after his dazzling hat-trick.

The Nigeria winger is just the sixth player to manage a treble in a major UEFA final and the first since Jupp Heynckes’ for Borussia Mönchengladbach against Twente in 1975.

Lookman will be the toast of Bergamo when Gasperini's side head home, boasting their first trophy in 61 years – after the Coppa Italia – following a 3-0 triumph to end Leverkusen's 51-game unbeaten run.

"One of the best nights of my life," the hat-trick hero told TNT Sports in Dublin.

"Amazing performance from the team, we did it, we did it, we did it! I haven't got much else to say, but fantastic."

Lookman is also just the second player to score a treble for an Italian side in the final of a major European competition, after Pierino Prati for Milan against Ajax in the 1969 European Cup

Preparing to leave the Aviva Stadium with the Europa League trophy in hand, Lookman could not wait to celebrate a seismic moment in the club's history.

"We've got to celebrate, we made history tonight," he added.

Gasperini, aged 66 years and 117 days on Wednesday, is the oldest coach to win his debut major European final, and the second Italian coach to win the Europa League after Maurizio Sarri in 2019.

The veteran Atalanta mastermind echoed Lookman's sentiment, after securing just a second trophy in the Italian club's history.

"I think we wrote history, also for the way we won it," said Gasperini, speaking to UEFA's official media channels.

"It was just extraordinary, we defeated Liverpool, Sporting who won the championship. When we faced Liverpool they were first in the Premier League... And now the German champions.

"Incredible. The boys were extraordinary, a memorable performance."

Ademola Lookman will be the toast of Bergamo after his hat-trick inspired Atalanta to Europa League glory, ending Bayer Leverkusen's 51-game unbeaten run after a 3-0 defeat in Dublin.

Nigeria winger Lookman is just the second player to score a treble for an Italian side in the final of a major European competition, after Pierino Prati for Milan against Ajax in the 1969 European Cup.

His single-handed match-winning heroics secured Atalanta's first-ever major European trophy as they became the 10th different Italian side to do so, second only to teams from England (13).

The records continued to tumble for Lookman, whose hat-trick was the sixth in a major UEFA final and the first since Jupp Heynckes’ for Borussia Mönchengladbach against Twente in 1975.

Having no response to a performance for the ages, Leverkusen suffered their first defeat since their final game of the 2022-23 season, ending a 361-day unbeaten run from last losing 3-0 to Bochum.

Gian Piero Gasperini's masterclass will etch his name into Atalanta history, with the Italian – aged 66 years and 117 days on Wednesday – the fourth oldest manager to win a major European trophy.

Only Raymond Goethals (71y 231d, 1993 Champions League), Heynckes (68y 16d, 2013 Champions League) and Alex Ferguson (66y 142d, 2008 Champions League), have done so at an older age.

Owing to Gasperini's genius and Lookman's quality, Atalanta are the first Italian side to lift the Europa League trophy since its rebrand in 2009, with Parma in 1999 the last Serie A side to win the UEFA Cup.

Alonso will hope to bounce back in Saturday's DFB-Pokal final but the Bundesliga champions are the first team to win the league title but lose the UEFA Cup/Europa League final in the same season since Benfica in 2013-14, and the first German side to do since Borussia Dortmund in 2001-02.

Ademola Lookman produced a performance for the ages as his hat-trick ended Bayer Leverkusen's 51-game unbeaten streak and saw Atalanta claim the Europa League with a 3-0 win in Dublin.

Xabi Alonso's Bundesliga title champions were eyeing an unlikely treble this season, but those plans came to a crashing halt as Atalanta secured their first-ever European silverware.

Lookman did the early damage with his first-half brace, the second of which was an eye-catching solo strike, as Gian Piero Gasperini's Serie A side seized unexpected control on Wednesday.

Comeback masters Leverkusen may have fancied a late fightback but Lookman's thumping 75th-minute finish completed his hat-trick and ensured Alonso's team suffered defeat for the first time this season, in what was their penultimate match of an exceptional campaign.

Leverkusen were punished for a slow start as Atalanta, making their maiden appearance in a European final, capitalised with just 12 minutes gone at the Aviva Stadium.

Exequiel Palacios was caught unaware at the back post as Davide Zappacosta slammed a low right-sided cross for Lookman to fire into the top-left corner from close range.

Lookman doubled his tally 14 minutes later, coolly flicking through the legs of Granit Xhaka before curling a right-footed finish into the bottom-right corner from the cusp of Leverkusen's area.

Alex Grimaldo should have responded shortly after but aimed a timid lob straight at the onrushing Juan Musso, who gratefully grasped the chipped effort when way out of his goal.

Charles De Ketelaere fizzed into the hands of Matej Kovar, while Granit Xhaka whipped wide before Alonso introduced striker Victor Boniface at the break.

That alteration failed to change the tide as Jeremie Frimpong blazed over the only chance before the hour-mark – and there would be no way back after Lookman scored his third with 15 minutes remaining.

Gianluca Scamacca played a simple offload out to his left, with Lookman breezing past Edmond Tapsoba before cannoning a wonderful left-footed strike beyond Kovar to seal a famous night for the team from Bergamo.

Atalanta savour legend Lookman

Lookman has etched his name into Atalanta history after helping Gasperini's side become the first Italian side to win the Europa League.

The Nigeria international is the sixth player to score a hat-trick in the final of a major UEFA competition, and the first since Jupp Heynckes' for Borussia Monchengladbach in the 1975 UEFA Cup.

Lookman's match-winning heroics will live long in the memory of Atalanta supporters, who will cherish just their second major trophy in club history – 61 years after winning the Coppa Italia.

Neverlusen comes to an end

Prior to this stunning defeat, Leverkusen were undefeated in all 12 Europa League games this season (W9 D3) and aiming to become the fourth side to win the trophy unbeaten, along with Chelsea in 2018-19, Villarreal in 2020-21 and Eintracht Frankfurt in 2021-22.

Adding in their nine-month unbeaten run, which spanned back to a first-round DFB-Pokal thrashing of Teutonia Ottensen in mid-August, Alonso's side appeared the favourites for this clash.

Yet form went out the window as Atalanta – who also eliminated Liverpool in the quarter-finals – inflicted Leverkusen's first defeat across all competitions in 361 days, and Alonso must now rally his troops for the DFB-Pokal final on Saturday.

Xabi Alonso says Bayer Leverkusen are driven by self-confidence in their ability to win games ahead of the Europa League final.

Leverkusen are chasing the second trophy in a potential treble against Atalanta in Dublin on Wednesday, with the DFB-Pokal final against Kaiserslautern to follow on Saturday.

The Bundesliga champions became the first German team to go unbeaten on their way to the title and are currently on a 51-match run without defeat in all competitions.

Alonso is taking charge of his first European final as a manager, but he believes his team will draw on the experience they have already gained this season.

"Our self-confidence keeps driving us on. We know that we can produce goals until the final minute," he said in his pre-match press conference. "That's a huge development that the team has made this season.

"From the start of the campaign, we believed in our brand of football and that's right at the heart of this successful run.

"We'll prepare like we did for all the games before. We haven't lost in 51 games, so my boys know how to adapt to different situations. That also applies to the final.

"What matters above all tomorrow is mentality. We have a game plan, but the players still have that wonderful atmosphere from the title celebrations on Saturday, and we want to tap into that."

Alonso is the youngest coach to manage a men’s European final since Roberto Di Matteo oversaw Chelsea’s Champions League victory in 2012.

He will also become just the fourth person to play in and manage a major European final this century after also playing in the 2005 and 2007 Champions League finals with Liverpool.

Reflecting on his time at Leverkusen, Alonso said: "I was so young in this coach career, so when I was offered the Leverkusen job, so it was 'let's go, let's see what happens'.

"In one year and a half, so much has happened; it has been a great experience, and it has only been a year and a half, but we have made so many right decisions.

"I think we have great chemistry.  The mentality we have shown throughout the year has been fantastic. I am really enjoying it."

Bayer Leverkusen will find it tough to overcome Atalanta in the Europa League final, manager Xabi Alonso said. 

The Italian side knocked out Premier League heavyweights Liverpool and three-times finalists Marseille in previous rounds.

But Leverkusen have plans of their own as they chase a treble of titles, having recently been crowned as the new Bundesliga champions.

Currently on an extraordinary 50-match run this season, Leverkusen play Gian Piero Gasperini's side, who are fifth in Serie A, in Dublin on May 22.

"Atalanta is one of the best teams in Europe. The coach has a clear plan, they have a great mentality and a big squad," Alonso told reporters on Wednesday.

"If we do our best, we have a chance, but it will be tight. They are a top team."

With the league title in the bag, Leverkusen are fully focused on winning both their finals, which includes the German Cup clash against Kaiserslautern on May 25.

But before that, they have a home game against Augsburg in the league on Saturday.

"The feeling is very good, we're looking forward to playing two finals. It's a great opportunity for us. We have time to prepare. There's still the Bundesliga game, but of course we're already focussing on the two finals," the Spaniard said.

"With the Bundesliga decided, we can focus more on the Europa League than if there was still something at stake. But the Bundesliga is not over yet, and we respect Augsburg."

Midfielder Florian Wirtz, who has scored 18 goals for Leverkusen in all competitions this campaign, is better after missing the last two games through injury.

"We'll take it slowly and look day by day. There's no risk of a more serious injury, it's all about the pain. We'll see how it looks again tomorrow," Alonso added.

Treble-chasing Bayer Leverkusen are offering supporters free tattoos to commemorate their Bundesliga-winning season and record-breaking unbeaten run.

Xabi Alonso's team, undefeated across all competitions this season, reached the Europa League final with a 2-2 comeback draw against Roma on Thursday, sealing a 4-2 aggregate win.

That result also stretched their unbeaten run this season to 49 matches across all competitions, surpassing Benfica's long-standing European record of 48, set between 1963 and 1965.

"A special action at the end of a special season. Bayer 04 are offering fans, until the end of the season, the opportunity to choose one of many Bayer 04 tattoos for free," the club said in a statement.

"Book your appointment now to eternalise this unique season on your skin."

Having sealed their first ever Bundesliga title, Leverkusen are also through to the DFB-Pokal final.

They will face second-tier Kaiserslautern in that showpiece game on May 25, three days after they take on Atalanta in the Europa League final.

Liverpool and Feyenoord have reached an agreement in principle over a compensation deal for Arne Slot to become the Reds’ manager next season, according to widespread Dutch media reports.

The Dutchman is reportedly poised to take over from Jurgen Klopp, who announced in January that he would be leaving the club at the end of the campaign.

Slot led Feyenoord to their second Eredivisie title last season after taking over the club in 2021.

It is believed that he topped the list of Liverpool’s favoured candidates due to his attacking playing style and ability to develop players.

Former Liverpool midfielder, Xabi Alonso, who led Bayer Leverkusen to their first Bundesliga title, and Sporting CP’s Ruben Amorim were also reported contenders to take over from Klopp.

Slot had already confirmed his interest in managing in the Premier League, both earlier this week and previously when he was linked to Tottenham in 2023.

 

 

 

 

Jurgen Klopp has given his nod of approval to Liverpool's pursuit of Feyenoord head coach Arne Slot.

Klopp has just four games remaining as Liverpool manager, having announced his intention to leave back in January.

Liverpool's season is in danger of fizzling out, with Wednesday's 2-0 defeat to Everton in the Merseyside derby having dealt their Premier League title hopes a blow, while they also crashed out of the Europa League earlier this month.

This week, reports emerged Liverpool, who were disappointed in their pursuit of Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso, had elected to move for Feyenoord's Slot as Klopp's replacement.

Slot confirmed on Thursday that the clubs were in talks and he was confident a deal would be completed soon, and Klopp believes the Dutchman is an ideal fit.

"I'm not involved in the process, but I like a lot about it, if he is the one and wants to take the job," Klopp said at a press conference ahead of Saturday's meeting with West Ham.

"I like the way his team plays football. All the things I hear about him as a guy – a good guy. Some people I know, know him. I don't know him, but some people who know him say he's a good guy. I like that a lot. So good coach, good guy. Looking forward for the club, if he is the solution, if he is the man, I am more than happy."

Expanding on what his replacement would be walking into at Anfield, Klopp added: "Best job in the world. Best club in the world.

"Great job, great team, fantastic people. [Slot] 'would' be taking a really interesting job."

Michail Antonio felt West Ham were up against 14 players as they bowed out of the Europa League to Bayer Leverkusen.

Antonio’s early header gave the Hammers hope of overturning a 2-0 first-leg deficit and inflicting a first defeat of the season on Xabi Alonso’s new Bundesliga champions.

But the bustling striker claimed he did not get a decision all night from card-happy Spanish referee Jose Maria Sanchez and his two assistants.

“It doesn’t feel like you’re playing against 11 men, it feels like you’re playing against 13 or 14 including the two linos,” Antonio told TNT Sports.

“You just have to keep pushing and try and make the decisions go your way. And they just weren’t. We had to keep playing our way and keep being professional.”

West Ham pushed gamely for a second goal to take the tie to extra-time, but as they inevitably flagged Leverkusen substitute Jeremie Frimpong scored with a deflected shot in the last minute to make it 1-1 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate.

It was a valiant effort but ultimately a sad end to another European adventure for last season’s Conference League winners.

“We’re very proud of ourselves, to achieve what we’ve achieved over the last few years is incredible,” added Antonio.

“Three back-to-back years in European quarter-finals I would never have thought that. We were a yo-yo team, fighting relegation, then into Europe.”

Sanchez booked 11 players and sent off West Ham coach Billy McKinlay, and Sebastian Parrilla from Leverkusen’s staff after a touchline altercation.

Asked if that skirmish had anything to do with some bad-tempered exchanges between the benches in last week’s first leg, Alonso said with a grin: “I wouldn’t say no.”

Hammers boss David Moyes was not keen to be drawn on the officiating, but he did say: “I watch a lot of Spanish football but if that’s the way it is you wouldn’t want to watch too many Spanish matches.”

On his side’s performance, he added: “It was a brilliant team performance, I have to say over the two games.

“We played a really good team and we had chances to be two or three up. I couldn’t fault the players at all. If I was going out of Europe I wanted to go out like that.”

In the first half Leverkusen looked as though they may have celebrated their first Bundesliga crown on Sunday a little too much, and Alonso admitted they needed to improve after the break.

“For sure it was a thrilling game,” he said. “Two different halves. First half we knew West Ham would come with high intensity and we were not comfortable with that.

“After they scored one we were lucky not to concede a second one. But we showed character in the second half and the substitutes had a good impact. It was a lesson for us.”

West Ham bowed out of the Europa League but only after giving new German champions Bayer Leverkusen an almighty fright.

Michail Antonio’s early goal had the Hammers, 2-0 down from the first leg, dreaming of inflicting a first defeat of the season on Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen and of maybe reaching a third European semi-final in three years.

But they were unable to find a second and were then left crastfallen when a deflected goal from Jeremie Frimpong a minute from time made it 1-1 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate to end the Hammers’ hopes.

Few gave David Moyes’ side any chance of overturning the deficit against one of the best teams in Europe, even if they were a little jaded after celebrating their first Bundesliga crown on Sunday.

At the very least West Ham knew they needed a fast start, and both the team and the crowd were instantly unrecognisable from the meek 2-0 home defeat by Fulham four days earlier.

The first shot in anger did come from Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz, whose 20-yard effort was acrobatically saved by Hammers keeper Lukasz Fabianksi despite it being his 39th birthday.

But the first goal was always going to have to come from West Ham if they were going to make anything resembling a contest out of it, and it arrived in the 14th minute when Jarrod Bowen swung a cross into the box.

Antonio got above Leverkusen centre-half Odilon Kossounou and in front of keeper Matej Kovar to guide his header into the net as a raucous home crowd genuinely started to believe something special could be in the air.

It was almost two four minutes later when Mohammed Kudus shook off the attentions of Kossounou and hit a deflected shot which Kovar did well to smother.

It was enough to rattle Alonso, who removed Kossounou from the firing line with less than half an hour gone, the Ivory Coast defender heading straight down the tunnel.

Tempers flared between the benches moments later with the Hammers’ mild-mannered first-team coach Billy McKinlay sent off along with Sebastian Parrilla from Leverkusen’s bench.

Still West Ham attacked and Edson Avarez’s shot looked goalbound until it hit Antonio’s backside, with Kovar holding Bowen’s follow-up.

Alonso made two further changes at the break, with big guns Victor Boniface and Frimpong called into action.

After the break Bowen, still a lively presence despite only passing a late fitness test, robbed Piero Hincapie in the area only to pull his shot across goal.

But Leverkusen were finding their rhythm. Frimpong should have wrapped up the tie with 10 minutes left when he raced through one-on-one with Fabianski, only to lift his shot way over the crossbar.

But with two minutes left Frimpong did strike, his shot taking a huge deflection off Aaron Cresswell to end West Ham’s European adventure.

Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso had bad news for David Moyes after insisting there are no lingering hangovers from their historic Bundesliga title celebrations.

Leverkusen clinched the first title in the club’s history when they beat Werder Bremen 5-0 on Sunday.

But their attention is now focused on defending a 2-0 lead in the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final at West Ham.

Hammers boss Moyes admitted he hoped the Leverkusen players might have indulged in a few too many steins of German beer.

But Alonso revealed: “A few of them, probably. But not too many. We had control.

“For sure it was a moment to enjoy it. On Sunday we knew we had a chance so we took one day, in case of winning, to enjoy it.

“But from Tuesday our mind has been focused on West Ham. Now it’s the Europa League and we have a great chance to make a great season even better.

“The commitment, the way we’ve trained, give me reasons to believe we will play well tomorrow.

“We have big challenges ahead. West Ham have good players, they have recent experience of beating Freiburg. We need to put in our best performance.

“I don’t have any feeling that our mentality will be any different from the one that has given us this chance to reach the quarter-final.”

Former Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka managed to achieve what Harry Kane could not do by winning the title in his first season in Germany.

Kane’s switch from Tottenham to Bayern Munich was expected to end in Bundesliga glory but his new side have been left trailing in Leverkusen’s wake.

“Before you transfer to another country you speak with the club and the coach about the plan and the philosophy,” said Xhaka.

“But of course how we are playing is unbelievable, more than people were thinking before the season. I’m proud to be a part of this team.”

Jarrod Bowen looks set to be fit for West Ham’s bid for an unlikely Europa League comeback against new Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen.

The Hammers’ 19-goal top scorer missed the 2-0 quarter-final first-leg defeat in Germany, and Sunday’s Premier League loss at home to Fulham, with a hip injury.

But Bowen took part in training at West Ham’s Rush Green HQ on Wednesday morning and hopes are high that he will be available against Leverkusen.

Manager David Moyes said: “It was great to see Jarrod out there.

“We’re not sure yet. I would never risk a player if I thought they were injured but you always want your best players back in, your goalscorers as well, and Jarrod has been that this season.”

The news is a major boost to the Hammers as they attempt to inflict a first defeat of the season on Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen.

But they will be without key Brazilian midfielder Lucas Paqueta through suspension after he was booked in Germany.

“Most people know exactly what Jarrod has done for us over the season and others. It would give us and the crowd a real lift,” Moyes said.

“We’ve lost Lucas through suspension, and had Jarrod out through injury. We have to find ways of making magic happen.”

Left-back Emerson Palmieiri is also suspended while centre-half Konstantinos Mavropanos is a doubt.

Leverkusen secured a first league title in their history when they beat Werder Bremen 5-0 on Sunday, and Moyes hopes the celebrations went on long into the night – and maybe spilled into the start of the week.

“Rightly so, why would you not celebrate?” he said. “To be the champions, you should celebrate, you should enjoy it because the moments go very quickly.

“I hope they’ve been downing those big giant glasses of beer they get in Germany!”

Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, who turns 39 on Thursday, hopes West Ham can lean on their experience of making unlikely comebacks.

Fabianski was in the Hammers team who were 3-0 down at Tottenham with 10 minutes to go in 2020, and hit back to draw 3-3.

“I think the confidence that we can take is from the experiences in recent years, games where we have been down and come back,” the former Poland international said.

“The Spurs game is one of the best examples,  being 3-0 down and to score three in 10-15 minutes.

“We’ve experienced some great moments as a team in recent history and that will help us prepare mentally for (Thursday’s) game.”

Bayer Leverkusen wrapped up their first ever Bundesliga title on Sunday night as Xabi Alonso’s managerial reputation continues to grow.

Leverkusen are unbeaten in all competitions this season and here, the PA news agency looks at their record.

Invincibles

Alonso’s side lead Bayern Munich by 16 points with five games remaining after 25 wins and four draws in the Bundesliga this season.

Wins or draws against all of Borussia Dortmund, Stuttgart, Eintracht Frankfurt, Bochum and Augsburg would see them complete the first ever undefeated Bundesliga season – Bayern lost just one game in both the 1986-87 and 2012-13 seasons, a record in the competition.

Leverkusen are also in the DFB-Pokal final, against second-tier Kaiserslautern, and hold a 2-0 lead from the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final against West Ham.

They have not lost in those competitions either, with an overall season record of 38 wins and five draws, 123 goals scored and only 31 conceded.

Sunday’s title-clinching 5-0 win over Werder Bremen was the fifth time this season they have scored five goals – Darmstadt, third-tier Sandhausen and European opponents Qarabag and Molde the other victims – in addition to an 8-0 cup rout of fourth-tier Teutonia Ottensen.

Florian Wirtz’s hat-trick against Bremen moved him alongside Victor Boniface as the club’s leading scorer, both with 11 league goals and 17 in all competitions. Leverkusen have kept 21 clean sheets at the other end.

Arsenal’s 2003-04 team earned the title of “The Invincibles” after winning the Premier League without losing a match – Alonso’s men need to get through a further nine or 10 games to complete an “Unbesiegbar” season across all competitions.

Xabi’s X-factor

Taking over a team second-bottom of the table in October of last season, Alonso worked wonders to lead Leverkusen to a sixth-placed finish and a Europa League semi-final before breaking new ground this season.

Across his 80 games in charge to date, Alonso has 55 wins – a remarkable 68.8 per cent rate – with 15 draws and 10 defeats. His side have scored 187 goals, averaging 2.34 per match, and conceding 77 or just under a goal per game.

Alonso was linked with Tottenham last summer and with the upcoming vacancies at Liverpool and deposed Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich – both clubs he represented as a player – at the end of this season.

He has pledged his continued loyalty to Leverkusen, who will be hoping that remains the case as his stock rises.

Xabi Alonso said it was an honour to manage Bayer Leverkusen to their first Bundesliga title after the runaway leaders clinched the trophy in style with a 5-0 victory over Werder Bremen.

Leverkusen were crowned German champions for the first time in their 120-year history with a dominant win which saw Florian Wirtz net a second-half hat-trick at an ecstatic BayArena.

Victor Boniface had opened the scoring from the penalty spot before Granit Xhaka doubled the lead with a long-range effort.

Alonso, who committed his future to Leverkusen after being linked with former clubs Liverpool and Bayern Munich earlier this season, lauded the “special” achievement after winning his first major trophy in management.

“This success is special for everyone, for the entire club. It belongs to so many people,” the 42-year-old Spaniard said after the match, as reported by Kicker.

“We have to enjoy winning this for the entire club. The first championship in 120 years. It’s an honour to be part of it and working here. Today we deserve to celebrate, with family, friends and fans.”

Leverkusen remain unbeaten during a fairy-tale campaign which could yet yield even more silverware.

They hold a 2-0 first-leg lead over West Ham in the Europa League quarter-finals – the second leg takes place in London on Thursday – and also have a DFB Pokal final against Kaiserslautern to look forward to next month.

“It may not be the last party of the current season,” Alonso added.

“We still have a big goal in the Europa League. We have a good chance to be in the semi-finals and also in the cup, the feeling is incredible.”

Boniface opened the scoring against Werder with a 25th-minute penalty before former Arsenal captain Xhaka made it 2-0 on the hour.

Wirtz then took centre stage, adding a third in the 68th minute to all but end any doubts about the result or title, before the 20-year-old completed his hat-trick with two more goals in the closing stages.

Wirtz said: “It’s indescribable. I can’t even realise it yet. I need to be in the dressing room for a while to get my head around what we’ve achieved.”

Fellow Germany international Jonas Hofmann, who joined Leverkusen last summer from Borussia Monchengladbach, added: “Everything really flows through the body. You don’t know: should you laugh? Should you cry? It’s really indescribable, I wouldn’t have dreamed of this a year ago, in the first year to do it straight away. That’s just awesome.

“We constantly pushed ourselves to the limit every game, no matter who was playing. We were always there, always present.

“This season you can see that everyone is needed so that the level doesn’t (drop) off. Then you’ll be able to play like that in three competitions. The coach is setting a brutal example of that.”

Leverkusen’s success ends Bayern’s 11-year reign as German champions, with Borussia Dortmund back in 2012 the last team to deny them top spot.

Bayern, who are currently a massive 16 points behind Leverkusen after a largely disappointing season for Thomas Tuchel’s side, were quick to applaud the new title winners.

“Congratulations to Bayer Leverkusen on a historic first Bundesliga title in the club’s history,” Bayern president Herbert Hainer said.

“The title goes absolutely deservedly to Leverkusen – it’s the reward for an outstanding season and great football.

Bayern chief executive Jan-Christian Dreesen added: “They’ve had a flawless season so far, the team have demonstrated courage, class and above all consistency, and that’s why they deserve to be 2024 German champions.”

Bayer Leverkusen sealed a maiden Bundesliga title in style as Florian Wirtz’s hat-trick wrapped up a comfortable 5-0 win over Werder Bremen.

Against a backdrop of expectation and cauldron of noise at the BayArena, Xabi Alonso’s side extended their unbeaten streak this season to 43 matches to end Bayern Munich’s run of 11 successive league titles.

Victor Boniface eased any nerves in the stadium with a 25th-minute penalty after Julian Malatin fouled Jonas Hofmann in the box, with referee Harm Osmers awarding the spot-kick following a VAR consultation.

Wave after wave of attack followed but Leverkusen were thwarted until Granit Xhaka curled home a left-foot strike from 25 yards on the hour to effectively end any hope of Bremen spoiling the party.

Wirtz, introduced on the stroke of half-time, then rifled high into the net from a similar distance midway through the second half and a brief pitch invasion followed when he bagged his second in the 83rd minute after going clean through on goal.

He had his treble with a fine finish, the last kick of the match which sparked another pitch invasion as Leverkusen got the victory they needed to guarantee the title with five matches left in the season.

Page 1 of 2
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.