Leverkusen simply cannot be beaten at the moment. Bayer has played 30 competitive games this season and hasn’t lost any. This means the team can confidently go into the hit against Bayern.
Winning mentality, composure and the broad chest of the unbeatable: with the typical Munich “Mia san mia” characteristics, the record hunters from Bayer Leverkusen face series champions FC Bayern Munich.
The way the Bundesliga table leaders achieved their third last-minute win in the fifth game of the year in a 3-2 win in the cup quarter-finals against the strong VfB Stuttgart will also have left a huge impression on Bayern, who have long since been eliminated.
“Sometimes the head is more important than the legs. And our head is very strong at the moment,” said Bayer coach Xabi Alonso with a view to the absolute league summit on Saturday (6.30 p.m. / Sky) in Leverkusen: “I’m happy that we have the heart and soul to try until the last moment. That we have a good mentality even in difficult moments.” They always have this message in their heads.
Leverkusen are “everyone looking forward to a great game”
Bayer has not lost any of the 30 competitive games since the start of the season. The team achieved 26 wins. Jonathan Tah’s goal on Tuesday in the 90th minute to make it 3-2 was important in several respects with a view to the upcoming duel. As the clear favorite for the DFB Cup, Bayer can go into the game much more relaxed with a clear title option after 31 years without a trophy. And the rush of victory perhaps makes up for the extra strain of the English week, especially as Tah’s goal saved extra time.
“We should actually draw enough strength from the way the season has gone so far,” said national player Robert Andrich: “But such an emotional mentality victory will certainly give us additional impetus. That’s why we’re all looking forward to a great game.”
In addition to the anticipation, what was particularly surprising was the noticeable calmness with which the Leverkusen team faced the hit. “These are weeks and moments when you have to eat well, sleep well, regenerate, focus on the games – and then it will work,” said Tah. As if it was the easiest thing in the world.
It is above all Alonso who brought this mixture of desire to win and inner peace to the team. When the score was 0-1 at halftime, the coach warned the team “not to go crazy,” revealed Andrich: “He said that we don’t have to conquer the world in five minutes. But that we have 45 minutes to score 1: 1.” And his team follows him: “We trust in ourselves and never lose our heads.”
Celebrations in Jürgen Klopp style
On Tuesday evening, Alonso spoke demonstratively of FC Bayern as the “best German team where winning is in their DNA.” But it is exactly this mentality that the former world and European champion, who played for Bayern from 2014 to 2017, has long since conveyed to the Leverkusen team.
The importance of the win against Stuttgart right before the top game in the championship was evident from Alonso’s exuberant celebration. The Spaniard twirled his arms in the air, jumped through the air with his legs spread in Jürgen Klopp style and even gave Victor Boniface, who was on crutches, an exuberant hug after the game. “I just had to let it all out,” said Alonso: “After a game like today, my head is a bit empty. But from tomorrow we’ll go full throttle again.”
Andrich’s announcement: “We want to go to Berlin and we want the title”
Given the rest of the field with two second division teams and the winner from Saarbrücken against Mönchengladbach, the path to the first cup title since 1993 seems paved, almost clear. But Alonso didn’t want to deal with that yet. “The semi-finals are not until the beginning of April. Until then we have enough time to focus on the Bundesliga and the Europa League.” It is undisputed that Leverkusen are now the clear favorites in the cup. That’s why Andrich didn’t even talk around it. “We want to go to Berlin and we want the title,” he said.
I am Pierce Boyd, a driven and ambitious professional working in the news industry. I have been writing for 24 Hours Worlds for over five years, specializing in sports section coverage. During my tenure at the publication, I have built an impressive portfolio of articles that has earned me a reputation as an experienced journalist and content creator.