Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen have turned heads this season and as per Opta, Die Werkself are the only remaining unbeaten team in Europe’s top five leagues across all competitions.
Leverkusen extended their run to 20 (18 wins and two draws) with a 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund on Sunday. And while Bayern Munich are unbeaten in the Bundesliga, the Rekordmeister were eliminated from the DFB Pokal in the third round against 3. Liga side Saarbrücken last month.
OGC Nice also suffered their first defeat of the season at the weekend, a 1-0 loss against FC Nantes. In remarkable form, Nice goalkeeper Marcin Bulka (24) has kept 10 clean sheets in his first 14 games, but that was unable to prevent Francesco Farioli from suffering his first loss of the season.
Bayer Leverkusen couldn’t go the season unbeaten, could they?
After Bayern Munich’s game against Union Berlin was postponed due to snow at the weekend, Bayer Leverkusen extended their lead at the top of the Bundesliga to three points after Victor Boniface rescued a point for B04 against Dortmund. Despite Leverkusen’s domination of the ball, they were unable to break down Dortmund’s low block.
“Leverkusen are now established league leaders” – Süddeutsche Zeitung’s headline.
But Leverkusen’s rise under Alonso has been remarkable. At this stage last season, B04 were sitting in 14th, just one point above the relegation playoff. Only Schalke (30) and Bochum (35) had conceded more than Leverkusen (25) after 13 games while they’ve almost doubled their goalscoring tally in the league already at this stage (2022/23: 21 goals, 2023/24: 38 goals).
Leverkusen have been top since matchday six and enjoyed an excellent start to their Bundesliga campaign with a 3-2 win against RB Leipzig and a 3-0 win at Borussia Mönchengladbach. Exequiel Palacios also scored from the spot to secure a 2-2 draw against reigning champions Bayern Munich while Leverkusen have impressed ever since.
Showcasing excellent recruitment in the transfer market with the signings of experienced players such as Granit Xhaka, Alex Grimaldo and Jonas Hofmann, combined with the youth of Victor Boniface, Jeremie Frimpong and Florian Wirtz, Bayer Leverkusen’s unbeaten run could well go on for a little longer.
GGFN | Daniel Pinder