Is Alonso playing it safe? Leverkusen holds off on the celebrations for now

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Bayer Leverkusen are close to a domestic double in the Bundesliga and German Cup but coach Xabi Alonso has warned that nothing is decided yet as he recalled the ghosts of the past.

Unbeaten in all their 40 season matches, Leverkusen visit Union Berlin on Saturday with a 13-point Bundesliga lead. They return to Berlin for the May 25 Cup final where they are big favourites against second division Kaiserslautern.

Leverkusen are also in the Europa League quarter-finals and Alonso told reporters on Friday that "the situation is very good at the moment. We can achieve big goals in all competitions.

"We are in a position where we can win something. But it is not over until it is over. In football, many things can happen," he said.

Leverkusen have not lifted a trophy since the 1993 German Cup title, with several near misses including three lost Cup finals and five Bundesliga runner-up finishes – which earned them the dubious Neverkusen distinction.

In 2000, they lost at relegated Unterhaching on the final matchday as Bayern Munich took the Bundesliga trophy.

Two years later, Leverkusen blew a five-point league lead in the last three matches, with Borussia Dortmund finishing top, and over the next 11 days also lost the German Cup and Champions League finals against Schalke and Real Madrid, respectively.

"The fans recall Unterhaching and the past. They are patient. We want to celebrate when there is something to celebrate," Alonso said.

"The goal is clear. There are still seven league games left. We want to take the next step in Berlin," he said.

Alonso has a full squad to chose from at mid-table Union who he named "a strong, physical team, but also good with the ball. We have to be ready from the kick-off."

Should Leverkusen avoid defeat they will equal Bayern Munich's Bundesliga record from 10 years ago of going unbeaten in the first 28 matches of a season.

Depending on Saturday's results Leverkusen could clinch the league title as early as the following weekend.

Leverkusen mayor Uwe Richrath has pledged a huge title celebration but that may well have to wait until the end of May – after the May 22 Europa League final and German Cup final three days later.

That is not only because the team can achieve a treble but also because – in the absence of a city hall balcony – the celebration will likely be in the club's stadium where the team play their last Bundesliga game on May 18.

"If we really manage to do that, it will go down in the city's history. I'm convinced that we'll then have a big party," Richrath told dpa.

Richrath said preparations were necessary even though he was "a little supersticious" and doesn't want to talk too much about possible titles.

"We are in a close exchange with the club and try to plan everything well. I am convinced that we will have a good event," the mayor said.


  1. Xavier_93 says

    Xabi Alonso’s cautious approach is commendable. It’s true that Leverkusen is in a strong position currently, but keeping the ghosts of the past in mind is wise. Nothing is certain in football until the final whistle blows, and anything can happen. The fans’ patience and the team’s focus on the present moment are key to achieving success in the upcoming challenges.

  2. Xavier_SoccerFan says

    It seems like Alonso is striking a balance between optimism and caution, aware of the club’s history of near misses. Leverkusen’s fans must appreciate the sense of patience and determination Alonso is instilling in the team. Let’s hope they can finally break the trophy drought this season.

  3. EmmaSmith says

    Alonso’s cautious approach is understandable given Leverkusen’s turbulent history with missed opportunities in past seasons. It’s wise to stay focused and not get ahead of themselves, even with the potential for a domestic double on the horizon.

  4. EmmaSmith82 says

    As a long-time Leverkusen supporter, I truly appreciate Alonso’s cautious approach. It’s crucial to stay focused and not get carried away with the current success. The memories of past near misses still haunt us, and I believe it’s wise to keep a level head until we actually secure the trophies. Let’s not count our chickens before they hatch!

  5. EmmaSmith says

    Alonso is right in saying that it’s not over until it’s over. Leverkusen has had some tough losses in the past, so it’s wise to be cautious and not celebrate too soon. Let’s hope they can achieve their goals this season. Exciting times ahead!

  6. EmmaJohnson45 says

    As an avid football fan, I believe Xabi Alonso is absolutely right in his cautious approach. Leverkusen’s history of near misses should serve as a reminder that it’s not over until the final whistle blows. The fans must stay patient and wait for the right moment to celebrate, only when the trophies are in their hands.

  7. Emma Wilson says

    Xabi Alonso’s cautious approach is understandable given Leverkusen’s history of near misses. It’s wise to stay focused and not get carried away with the success so far. As a fan, I appreciate the team’s patient attitude towards celebrations. Let’s hope they can finally lift a trophy this season!

  8. EmilySmith86 says

    Do you think Leverkusen should be more confident in their chances of winning the double or is Alonso right to play it safe?

    1. JohnDoe75 says

      Hi EmilySmith86, I believe Alonso’s cautious approach is wise given Leverkusen’s history of near misses. Confidence is important, but being cautious can help avoid complacency and ensure they stay focused on the goals ahead. What do you think?

      1. EmilySmith86 says

        I completely agree with you, JohnDoe75. Alonso’s cautious approach shows his understanding of Leverkusen’s past challenges. Confidence is crucial, but caution can prevent overconfidence and maintain the team’s concentration on their objectives. It’s a smart strategy to avoid any slip-ups and keep the focus sharp. Let’s see if it pays off in the end!

  9. XavierSmith says

    XavierSmith’s opinion on the subject is that Bayer Leverkusen is indeed in a strong position to achieve big goals in all competitions, but as XavierSmith wisely points out, “It is not over until it is over. In football, many things can happen.” XavierSmith appreciates the caution and patience that coach Xabi Alonso is exercising, noting that the fans also share this sentiment of holding off on celebrations until the team secures a tangible victory.

  10. XimenaSmith42 says

    Alonso makes a valid point. Patience is key in football. Let’s not count our chickens before they hatch. Exciting times ahead for Leverkusen, but nothing is guaranteed in this sport!

  11. EmilySmith says

    It seems like Alonso is being cautious and not taking anything for granted. I agree with his approach of not celebrating too soon. The team needs to stay focused until the end to secure the victories. Let’s hope Leverkusen can break their trophy drought this season!

  12. EmilyJohnson says

    Is Alonso playing it safe by not celebrating prematurely? Will Leverkusen be able to maintain their lead and clinch the Bundesliga and German Cup titles?

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