What Happened the Last Time Bayer Leverkusen Were on the Brink of the Bundesliga Title?


In a stunning display of tactical acumen and footballing brilliance, Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen have positioned themselves at the forefront of German football, tantalizingly close to clinching their first-ever Bundesliga title. This season, under the former Real Madrid midfielder’s guidance, Die Werkself has performed above and beyond expectations, showcasing a level of football that has not only captivated their fans but also earned respect from their rivals.


At the time of writing, the North-Rhine Westphalia outfit hasn’t lost a game all season and is ten points clear of the rekordmeister Bayern Munich. The Bavarians have lifted the Meisterschale in each of the last 11 seasons, however, they are now the rank outsiders. There are plenty of offers available on European football at present, with deals such as SkyBet free bets providing a £30 free bet to new customers, and they priced the reigning champions up as a distant 6/1 underdog.


However, this isn’t the first time Leverkusen has been on the brink of Bundesliga glory. The ghost of the 2001/02 season still haunts the club—a season when they were agonizingly close to securing the title, only to lose it on the last day, a narrative that added a painful chapter to the club’s history.

The Current Campaign


Leverkusen’s current campaign has been nothing short of spectacular. With a clear lead in the German top flight thanks to a recent 2-0 derby win against Cologne, they has showcased resilience, strategic depth, and an unbeatable spirit. Alonso has transformed the team from a relegation-threatened side when he took over to an unbeaten league leader within a year, a feat that speaks volumes of their manager’s influence and strategic nous.


The team’s success is not just limited to domestic competitions. They are on a record-breaking unbeaten run, sparking discussions about a potential historic treble. Leverkusen are into the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League, as well as the semifinals of the DFB Pokal.


However, as they edge closer to the title, memories of the 2001/02 season resurface, reminding everyone associated with the club of how victory can slip away in the final moments. In that season, Die Schwarzroten was on the verge of making history. They were leading the Bundesliga, had reached the UEFA Champions League final, and were finalists in the German Cup as well. It was a season that promised so much, yet ended in unprecedented heartbreak, earning them the moniker “Neverkusen.”



Horror Collapse


During the climax of the 2001/02 Bundesliga, Leverkusen needed just four points from their final three games to secure the title. However, back-to-back defeats to Werder Bremen and Nuremberg in the first two of those games, coupled with Borussia Dortmund’s upturn in form, snatched the title away from the BayArena and took it to Signal Iduna Park in the most dramatic fashion.


The pain of the domestic loss was compounded when Leverkusen were defeated by Real Madrid in the Champions League final, courtesy of Zinedine Zidane’s iconic volley. The DFB Pokal final offered a chance for redemption, but again, they fell short, losing to Schalke 04. Leverkusen finished the season empty-handed, a cruel twist of fate for a team that had played some of the most exhilarating football in Europe.


Fast forward to today and, under Alonso’s stewardship, the landscape looks remarkably different. The scars of 2001/02 have not healed entirely, but there is a sense of optimism around the BayArena that was perhaps missing in the years following that fateful season. The former Liverpool man has instilled a winning mentality in the squad, emphasizing the importance of resilience and collective effort. His tactical flexibility and ability to get the best out of his players have been central to Leverkusen’s success.


But whether they can actually end the season with a trophy remains to be seen. If given the chance right now, no doubt Alonso would sacrifice both the Europa League and DFB Pokal if he was guaranteed to end up with a maiden Meistershcale. But obviously their are no guarantees in football, and that ten point lead to Bayern Munich could be wiped out in the blink of an eye if his side takes their foot off the gas.