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Dortmund, Bayern runs put Leverkusen Title in perspective – Alonso

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Dortmund, Bayern runs put Leverkusen Title in perspective – Alonso

Bayer Leverkusen’s unbeaten Bundesliga title win is even more impressive considering the successes of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich in Europe this season, coach Xabi Alonso stated on Wednesday.

Alonso, as Leverkusen gets closer to the Europa League final, praised Dortmund for securing a spot in the Champions League final after defeating Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 on aggregate.

Bayern Munich has the chance to set up an all-German final by overcoming Real Madrid in their closely-contested second leg on Wednesday.

Leverkusen can advance to the Europa League final on Thursday if they manage to maintain their 2-0 lead from the first leg against Roma.

Having clinched their maiden German championship in mid-April and boasting a remarkable unbeaten streak of 48 games across all competitions this season, Alonso emphasised, “The high level of competition in the Bundesliga makes our achievements even more praiseworthy.”

He extended his congratulations to Dortmund and their coach, Edin Terzic, acknowledging the difficulty of reaching the Champions League final.

“Yesterday they played as a team so congrats to them.”

Leverkusen can break the record for successive unbeaten games set by Benfica in 1965 by avoiding defeat against Roma and are two league matches away from being the first side to go through a Bundesliga season unbeaten.

Alonso played in the Bundesliga for Bayern as well as with Liverpool in the Premier League and for Real Madrid in La Liga before becoming a manager.

He was linked with Jurgen Klopp’s soon-to-be-vacant manager’s job at Liverpool and the hot seat at Bayern Munich but has said he will remain at Leverkusen next season.

Alonso was asked whether the English league’s claims of being the best were warranted with no teams in the final four of either the Champions League or Europa League this season.

“Yesterday they played as a team so congrats to them.”

Leverkusen can break the record for successive unbeaten games set by Benfica in 1965 by avoiding defeat against Roma and are two league matches away from being the first side to go through a Bundesliga season unbeaten.

Alonso played in the Bundesliga for Bayern as well as with Liverpool in the Premier League and for Real Madrid in La Liga before becoming a manager.

He was linked with Jurgen Klopp’s soon-to-be-vacant manager’s job at Liverpool and the hot seat at Bayern Munich but has said he will remain at Leverkusen next season.

Alonso was asked whether the English league’s claims of being the best were warranted with no teams in the final four of either the Champions League or Europa League this season.

“You can say anything you like, but results are results. They’re facts — you cannot discard them,” the Spaniard said.

Leverkusen only need to avoid defeat by more than a goal at home against Roma on Thursday to progress to the final in Dublin on May 22.

The 42-year-old manager said “A return leg is always a dangerous situation. No matter what the first result was, a goal can quickly change the situation and the mindset.

“We want to be aggressive, to control the game and to defend well.”

Last season, Roma defeated Leverkusen over two legs to make it to the final and Alonso said the bitter memory of that May evening would motivate them.

“We haven’t forgotten what we experienced in our stadium and the feeling we felt last year.

“We must use this energy and hopefully we can celebrate at the end.”

Leverkusen defender Edmund Tapsoba echoed Alonso’s statements, telling reporters “we saw last season how our fans suffered after the defeat against Roma.

“We want to give back to them for what they did for us this season.”

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