Soccer-Leverkusen secure maiden Bundesliga title with 5-0 win over Bremen


Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Bayer Leverkusen v Werder Bremen - BayArena, Leverkusen, Germany - April 14, 2024 Bayer Leverkusen fans in the stands REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO.

LEVERKUSEN, Germany (Reuters) -Undefeated Bayer Leverkusen secured their first Bundesliga title on Sunday with a 5-0 victory over Werder Bremen, breaking an 11-year stranglehold on the league by Bayern Munich.

Xabi Alonso's team, who have now gone a league-record 29 matches without defeat this season to secure their first trophy since 1993, have a 16-point lead over Bayern with five matches remaining.

They can add more titles this season, having reached the German Cup final and the Europa League quarter-finals where they have a 2-0 first leg advantage over West Ham United.

Leverkusen left nothing to chance and sealed their title win at the first opportunity with Florian Wirtz bagging a hat-trick in a win that stretched their unbeaten run across all competitions to a remarkable 43 games this season.

"I cannot describe this," Germany international Wirtz said. "I personally can still not realise this has happened. I will need a few moments in the changing room to understand what we have achieved.

"We could not have imagined something like this when you see how the previous season went."

They earned a 24th minute penalty and Victor Boniface, who only recently came back after a three-month injury break, stepped up to score his first league goal since December and his 11th of the campaign.

There were more chances to double their lead in a one-sided first half, with Amine Adli also hitting the woodwork for the hosts.

Fans had been out in force from early morning across the city to prepare for the big moment, having queued for hours outside the stadium before the gates opened. Now they could barely stay in their seats with their team only 45 minutes away from the title.

Werder came out fighting after the break, trying to spoil the party, but Granit Xhaka's missile on the hour from 25 metres out sparked wild celebrations.

The hosts were not yet done with substitute Wirtz adding another goal eight minutes later.

The Germany international, gearing up for Euro 2024 on home soil in June, bagged another in the 83rd with impatient fans then briefly running onto the pitch.

He completed his hat-trick in the 90th to cap his team's five-star performance and secure the title in style as thousands of cheering Leverkusen supporters raced onto the pitch to celebrate their first trophy in 31 years.

"The team under coach Xabi Alonso played thrilling and champion-worthy football," German FA President Bernd Neuendorf said.

"They have not yet lost a game and left no doubt whatsoever about who would be at the top in the end."

(Reporting by Karolos, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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