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Men’s Football Alonso’s Leverkusen secure first Bundesliga title with five games to spare

BAYER LEVERKUSEN sealed a maiden Bundesliga title in style as Florian Wirtz’s hat-trick wrapped up a comfortable 5-0 win over Werder Bremen at the weekend.

Against a backdrop of expectation and cauldron of noise at the BayArena, Xabi Alonso’s side extended their unbeaten streak this season to 43 matches to end Bayern Munich’s run of 11 successive league titles.

Victor Boniface eased any nerves in the stadium with a 25th-minute penalty after Julian Malatin fouled Jonas Hofmann in the box, with referee Harm Osmers awarding the spot-kick following a VAR consultation.

Wave after wave of attack followed but Leverkusen were thwarted until Granit Xhaka curled home a left-foot strike from 25 yards on the hour to effectively end any hope of Bremen spoiling the party.

Wirtz, introduced on the stroke of half-time, then rifled high into the net from a similar distance midway through the second half and a brief pitch invasion followed when he bagged his second in the 83rd minute after going clean through on goal.

He had his treble with a fine finish, the last kick of the match which sparked another pitch invasion as Leverkusen got the victory they needed to guarantee the title with five matches left in the season.

Alonso, who committed his future to Leverkusen after being linked with former clubs Liverpool and Bayern Munich earlier this season, lauded the “special” achievement after winning his first major trophy in management.

“This success is special for everyone, for the entire club. It belongs to so many people,” the 42-year-old Spaniard said after the match, as reported by Kicker.

“We have to enjoy winning this for the entire club. The first championship in 120 years. It’s an honour to be part of it and working here. Today we deserve to celebrate, with family, friends and fans.”

Leverkusen hold a 2-0 first-leg lead over West Ham in the Europa League quarter-finals — the second leg takes place in London on Thursday — and also have a DFB Pokal final against Kaiserslautern to look forward to next month.

“It may not be the last party of the current season,” Alonso added.

“We still have a big goal in the Europa League. We have a good chance to be in the semi-finals and also in the cup, the feeling is incredible.”

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