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Bayer Leverkusen Chase Invincibility With Bundesliga Title in Sight

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Hosting Werder Bremen on Sunday just one win away from a first Bundesliga title, Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen have their sights set on something even bigger: invincibility.

With 24 wins and four draws in the league this season, Leverkusen are on the cusp of going through a Bundesliga season undefeated.

Not even the mighty Bayern Munich, who have 33 German titles, have managed an unbeaten season in the league.

The unprecedented achievement has led to calls for Alonso’s side to receive a golden Bundesliga shield.

In an interview published Thursday on German sport site Kicker, Leverkusen captain Lukas Hradecky said his relentless side would not let up should they beat Bremen on Sunday.

“We want to create something even more special than the championship: finish the league season without defeat.

“If we become champions on Sunday, it will have no impact on how we play in the league,” said Hradecky, explaining “we need to live up to our role (as champions).”

Alonso has repeatedly said this season that his side — who are also well-placed to reach the Europa League semi-finals and are in the German Cup final — should not get ahead of themselves.

Hradecky, who admitted he had “almost written off the possibility of winning the title” before this season, said keeping the run going was “motivation enough”.

“Becoming champions would be outstanding. But there are only five games left (after Sunday) and we won’t let up.”

“Then it wouldn’t just be a championship, but one with a cherry on top.”

Bayern, who host struggling Cologne, and Stuttgart, who are at home to Frankfurt, are on 60 points.

If both Bayern and Stuttgart lose on Saturday, Leverkusen will be champions even before they take the pitch against Bremen.

While each and every Leverkusen fan would have taken that deal before the season start, Alonso’s men will no doubt want to seal the deal on their own terms — and in front of their long-suffering fans.

“We have many chances — thankfully — but we’ll try and do it on Sunday,” Alonso said on Thursday after Leverkusen extended their unbeaten run to 42 games in all competitions with a 2-0 win over West Ham in the Europa League quarter-finals.

“We must be motivated, but not over-motivated.”

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One to watch: Robert Andrich (Bayer Leverkusen)

Although Bayer Leverkusen’s swashbuckling forwards have commanded the column inches this season, their achievements have been built on the foundation set by midfield enforcer Robert Andrich.

Andrich’s story mirrors that of that of Leverkusen — a promising player with potential unrealised before the arrival of Xabi Alonso.

The 29-year-old celebrated his Germany debut this season, one of seven Leverkusen players to receive a first national team call-up this campaign.

Andrich said he struggled to comprehend what winning the title could mean.

“I don’t even think I can describe it,” Andrich said Wednesday on the Einfach Mal Luppen podcast.

“At that moment I might just collapse,” Andrich said, explaining “I probably won’t realise what we’ve done until I’m on vacation.”

Key stats

76 – Bayer Leverkusen have 76 points with six games remaining. Last year, Bayern and Dortmund finished on 71 after 34 games, with the Bavarians winning the title on goal difference.

0 – No team has ever gone through a Bundesliga season unbeaten.

11 – Bayern Munich have won the last 11 Bundesliga titles.

Fixtures (1330 GMT unless stated)

Friday: Augsburg v Union Berlin (1830)

Saturday: Bayern Munich v Cologne, Mainz v Hoffenheim, Borussia Moenchengladbach v Borussia Dortmund, Bochum v Heidenheim, RB Leipzig v Wolfsburg, Stuttgart v Eintracht Frankfurt (1630)

Sunday: Darmstadt v Freiburg, Bayer Leverkusen v Werder Bremen (1530)

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – AFP)

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