When Bayern lost their nerve in prime time, the virtually champions of Bayer Leverkusen had long since returned to everyday life. “It’s one less game again, so the situation is a little better,” said coach Xabi Alonso after these very special 28 hours for the club that has long been ridiculed as vice-presidents. On Friday Alonso announced that he would stay at Bayer, followed by an emotional 2-1 against TSG Hoffenheim on Saturday afternoon before the pursuers from Munich lost to Borussia Dortmund in the evening. The title in the Bundesliga can hardly be taken away from Bayer.

His emotions this Saturday were “very special,” said Alonso before Munich’s 2-0 defeat against BVB. A few hours later, fellow coach Thomas Tuchel, frustrated, sent the first early congratulations from FC Bayern to Leverkusen. When they arrived at their own arena, the Munich team noticed that Bayer had turned another game around in the final minutes.

The club boss is excited

Patrik Schick caused an enormous rush of emotions in Leverkusen with his winning goal in stoppage time and also visibly affected Fernando Carro. “My heart can’t take it much longer,” said the club boss with a laugh. Bayer travels to the game at 1. FC Union Berlin next weekend with a 13-point lead. If things go optimally from Leverkusen’s point of view, the title could be won a week later before the game against Werder Bremen.

A few steps to the title

“There is still a bit of work to be done,” said Alonso on the championship question. Losing the championship seems only theoretically possible – especially for a team that was unbeatable in 39 competitive games this season. In the Bundesliga, Bayer only dropped eight points in 27 games. There is also the last minute factor like against Hoffenheim. “That was another milestone,” said Robert Andrich, who used a combination with Florian Wirtz and Jonathan Tah to equalize in the 88th minute.

Big development among the fans too

The thousands of Bayer fans cheered. Something has also developed around the successful team. While opposing fans used to make fun of Leverkusen for years because they often couldn’t fill their home arena and only a few fans traveled to away games, tickets for Bayer games are now sold out early. And the atmosphere in the BayArena is now so special that even the well-traveled Alonso is impressed.

“This connection with the fans is very special. They are a part of this victory. And for me a reason to work here so that they have something to celebrate,” he said. After his declaration of loyalty on Good Friday, “Thank you Xabi” scarves were sold at the entrances, and there were numerous posters with the coach’s name and hearts on the stands. When the line-up was announced, the coach was celebrated loudly again.

When the internal announcement of his whereabouts was made on Friday morning, the team “naturally applauded” him, said Schick, who scored his fourth competitive goal in stoppage time with the winning goal against Hoffenheim – in March alone. “We have this beautiful season, this incredible series. And it wouldn’t have been nice if he left after the season.”

Andrich reported that Alonso had “dryly announced that he wasn’t going anywhere. We were happy. Now we’ve got a catch that he’ll stay for another season. Now we want to achieve a lot more together.”