Bayer Leverkusen: From Neverkusen to Neverloosen

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Page 1From Neverkusen to Neverloosen

Page 2Always luck is skill

Not even Siegfried remained undefeated. The Germanic hero killed the dragon Fáfnir. But as he triumphantly bathed in its blood, a linden leaf fell from the tree and landed on his shoulder. Knowing this weak point, the idiot Hagen von Tronje was able to kill him with a spear. Wagner fans know all about this Nibelungen ham.

The boys from Leverkusen must have bathed under coniferous trees, because Siegfried was a loser against them. After Saturday’s win against Augsburg it was clear: Bayer 04 would become the first club in Bundesliga history to remain undefeated for a season. 34 games, thirty-four! Not even Bayern under Jupp Heynckes and Pep Guardiola managed to do that. HSV was once undefeated for just as long, but not in one season. Not Dortmund, not Bremen, not Gladbach in better times – Vizekusen of all places set this record.

Bayer 04 are now playing in the same league as the legendary ones Invincible of Arsenal FC. It’s been twenty years since the team around Thierry Henry and Jens Lehmann achieved the same feat. Juventus Turin, AC Milan and FC Porto also remained undefeated, as did an English club called Preston North End in 1889.

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for 51 games

Bayer Leverkusen is now unbeaten

Otherwise few comparisons do justice to Arsenal and Leverkusen. Defeats are simply part of sports. Normally. Nadal on clay perhaps. Many players have no chance against him from the first serve. Like Bochum, Bremen and Frankfurt against Leverkusen, who recently conceded five each.

Or Rocky Balboa. How many times had one thought that he had already lost. There he was hanging on the ropes, his face scarred by blows, but in the final rounds he turned his fortunes around.

The Italian stallion could have been a role model for Leverkusen’s last-minute champions. It started with a 2-2 draw in Munich on matchday 4 in September, when Exequiel Palacios equalized with a penalty in stoppage time. Nobody had the slightest idea what that meant. It wasn’t even clear that it was a top game.

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In the second half of the season, however, a series of Leverkusen equalizers and winning goals followed after the 89th minute. In Augsburg, in Leipzig, against Stuttgart and against Hoffenheim, Bayer was even behind shortly before the end and still won.

Alonso’s men celebrated the equalizer in Dortmund in the 97th minute the most. They were already champions at that time. But to the mockery of the BVB fans (“And you want to be German champions?!?”) they gave the right answer: Exactly! That’s what we want – and that’s what we are!

You could also win in the traditional way, said Jonathan Tah in an interview with ZEIT. But it’s a lot more fun at the last second, when the atmosphere in the stadium is bombastic. He himself headed his team into the semi-finals in the 90th minute in the DFB Cup against Stuttgart.

Same game in the Europa League. Leverkusen even left the outsider Qarabağ Ağdam in the false hope of taking the lead for a long time, twice. In this duel, Leverkusen scored a total of three goals in the first and second legs after regular time had expired.

In the European Cup, Bayer also celebrated a symbolic goal without any formal relevance, as in Dortmund. In the second leg against AS Roma, the team was 1:2 behind, which would have been enough to advance. Other teams would have defended in such moments. Not the Leverkusen team, they wanted victory. So Josip Stanišić, on loan from dethroned perennial champions FC Bayern, discovered his inner slalom runner and scored to equalize. The timing like in Dortmund: 90+7.

Not even Siegfried remained undefeated. The Germanic hero killed the dragon Fáfnir. But as he triumphantly bathed in its blood, a linden leaf fell from the tree and landed on his shoulder. Knowing this weak point, the idiot Hagen von Tronje was able to kill him with a spear. Wagner fans know all about this Nibelungen ham.

The boys from Leverkusen must have bathed under coniferous trees, because Siegfried was a loser against them. After Saturday’s win against Augsburg it was clear: Bayer 04 would become the first club in Bundesliga history to remain undefeated for a season. 34 games, thirty-four! Not even Bayern under Jupp Heynckes and Pep Guardiola managed to do that. HSV was once undefeated for just as long, but not in one season. Not Dortmund, not Bremen, not Gladbach in better times – Vizekusen of all places set this record.

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