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Xabi Alonso: Will Leverkusen Claim Invincible Treble?

Winning a trophy treble of any sort in a season is an incredible and difficult achievement for any side, but to do it unbeaten takes it to another level.

There’s something intricately mystic about Bayern Leverkusen’s unbeaten run—it is in the eerie 90th-minute goals they score to equalise or seal their victory. Their game against As Roma in the Europa League Semi-Finals was their 17th goal of the season that’s either come in the 90th minute or later, and the third time they’ve come from behind in a 0-2 down in the second half of Europa League knockout matches.

Xabi Alonso’s side has ended Bayern Munich’s dominance of German football to win the Bundesliga, reached its first European final in two decades, and is on the longest unbeaten run since continental competition began.

Following their last-gasp 2-2 draw with Roma, Leverkusen are 49 matches unbeaten. This surpasses the previous record of 48 set by the Eusebio-led Benfica side between December 1963 and February 1965.

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Read Also: Xabi Alonso: Gaffer Insists on Staying at Leverkusen Despite Calls From Liverpool

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Their streak was already a record for a team from one of Europe’s big five leagues: the Bundesliga, Premier League, Ligue 1, La Liga, and Serie A.

And if they can keep it going for just four more games, then it could see them pull off arguably one of the greatest achievements in football history—an invincible treble.

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With the league title wrapped up, they could still add the German Cup and Europa League to their trophy cabinet this season.

“You can’t count us out, not even for a second,” wing-back Jeremie Frimpong told TNT Sports after the aggregate victory over Roma.

“No one gives up. Everyone knows that if we go down, we will get a goal.”

On 22 May, Leverkusen will face Italian side Atalanta in the Europa League final at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Hopes are high for a first European trophy in 36 years and for keeping their unbeaten run going.

“You see the desire from the team; we didn’t want to slow down. We wanted to score the next goal to keep going unbeaten 49 times now. We are proud of it,” Leverkusen midfielder Granit Xhaka said.

“We have a lot of respect for Atalanta and first of all, we are happy to be in the final. We have time to prepare and analyse, but we have some games to go.”

How does Leverkusen’s incredible, unbeaten run compare?

Longest unbeaten runs
All CompetitionsTeamPeriodStreak
GermanyBayer LeverkusenAug 2023-Present49
ItalyJuventusMay 2011–May 201243
EnglandNottingham ForestMar-Nov 197840
SpainReal MadridApr 2016-Jan 201740
FranceParis St-GermainAug 1993–April 199437

Source: Opta

Alonso’s side has been extending their record run since breaking the previous elite league mark of 44 games, set by Juventus in May 2012, last month.

They made it 45 games unbeaten with the 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund when they needed a 97th-minute equaliser by Josip Stanisic.

And Stanisic repeated the feat down to the minute when he cut inside from the right and scored low with his left foot to earn a 2-2 draw with Roma and send the BayArena crazy, Leverkusen fans and players alike.

Of their 49 undefeated games across all competitions, Leverkusen have won 40.

It means they have surpassed the record set by the great Benfica side of the 1960s, which was previously the longest unbeaten run since continental competitions such as the European Cup and later the Champions League were introduced.

Leverkusen equalised it with a 5-1 thrashing of Eintracht Frankfurt and now stands alone.

Has anyone else claimed an invincible treble?

Winning a trophy treble of any sort in a season is an incredible and difficult achievement for any side, but to do it unbeaten takes it to another level.

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

Ajax were famously unbeaten in the Eredivisie and Champions League in the 1994–95 season but had one defeat when they lost in the KNVB Cup.

Should Leverkusen get to the end of the season unbeaten, then they will have produced a campaign to live long in the memory and in the record books.

SourceBBC

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