Bayer 04 Leverkusen is German football champion. For the first time in the club’s history, the factory club secured the title in the Bundesliga. Leverkusen completed their triumph on the 29th Bundesliga matchday with a 5-0 (1-0) home win against SV Werder Bremen, ending FC Bayern’s streak of eleven titles in a row.

The outstanding team of coach-shooting star Xabi Alonso this season also ensured one of the earliest title decisions in Germany. So far, only the record champions from Munich have managed it even faster in 2014 on the 27th matchday and a year earlier on the 28th matchday.

Bayer now leads the table unassailably with 79 points and also set a record in points at this point. Long before the final whistle, the fans in Leverkusen were already celebrating their team, after the fourth goal some people were already running onto the pitch, the game had to be interrupted for a few minutes, after the fifth goal and the second storm the referee blew the whistle. Goal scorer Victor Boniface (25th minute/penalty), Granit Xhaka (60th) and Florian Wirtz (68th/83rd/90th) with a hat trick provided the goals for Leverkusen, who have now been unbeaten in 43 games in all competitions.

Hours before the game, there was a festival atmosphere around the BayArena, which was later sold out with 30,210 spectators. The team bus was welcomed with firecrackers, New Year’s Eve rockets and loud chants. Hats and scarves that said “German Champion 2024” were sold. Fans held up signs that said “Meisterkusen.”

The label “Vizekusen”, which had attached to the factory club since the beginning of this millennium, was crossed out. “You can tell that the euphoria is reaching a peak again today,” said Leverkusen’s sports director Simon Rolfes on the streaming service DAZN before kick-off.

Despite playing significantly more in the game, Bayer still seemed a bit nervous at the start. Alonso probably rested stars Wirtz, Jeremie Frimpong and Alejandro Grimaldo at the start of the Europa League quarter-final second leg at West Ham United on Thursday; they only came after the break. Jonas Hofmann was back in the starting line-up. And a foul on the former Gladbacher after a good 20 minutes got the party started.

Video referee Pascal Müller drew the attention of referee Harm Osmers to Julián Malatini’s offense against Hofmann in the penalty area. Only after watching the slow motion did Osmers decide on the penalty. Boniface converted safely. For the long-injured Nigerian, it was the first Bundesliga goal since December 2023.

The rest of the game was a celebration for Bayer. Xhaka’s second goal of the season finally brought salvation and Wirtz’s unstoppable long-range shot brought exuberant bliss. When Wirtz scored the second goal, the now excited Bayern supporters stormed onto the pitch in droves and were only able to be pushed back with difficulty.

Bayern’s long-term dominance in the league has been broken. Most recently, the dethroned defending champion was German champion eleven times in a row. Before that, the last time another team won the title was Borussia Dortmund in 2012.

This season, the weakening Bayern Leverkusen couldn’t even begin to hold a candle to Leverkusen. The factory club, which last won a title in 1993 with the DFB Cup victory, even has the prospect of two more titles this year. The cup final against the relegation-threatened second division team 1. FC Kaiserslautern is on May 25th and Bayer is also still in the running in the Europa League.

Master maker Alonso reached the first milestone in his young coaching career with the championship. The former world-class player had the Werkself 17th in the table on October 5, 2022. of the Bundesliga, led them into the Europa League last season and finally formed into a top team this season.

Together with his team, which was really beefed up last summer, Alonso can also achieve something that Bayern have never achieved before: a complete season without defeat. The 43 is already there.

However, the season of superlatives would not have been possible without several direct hits on the transfer market last summer. The additions of Xhaka from Arsenal (15 million euros), Grimaldo from Benfica Lisbon (free transfer) and Boniface from Union Saint-Gilloise (20.5 million) immediately became top performers.

In total, Bayer invested a good 80 million euros in new players, which is, for the third year in a row, double-digit million more than it earned from sales. Hardly any other traditional club without an investor or parent company could have achieved such a transfer record after the Corona pandemic without getting into serious difficulties. That’s why there was recently slight criticism from the fan alliance “Our Curve”. Due to the 50 1 exception, the financial conditions at Bayer are different than at other clubs – especially in the wake of the corona pandemic.

The club, which is always in the shadow of the larger clubs 1. FC Köln and Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Rhineland due to the significantly low fan response and the smaller BayArena, could finally free itself from the image of the gray mouse this season.