The Bundesliga’s sole representative in European competition is now Bayer Leverkusen following their Europa League quarter-final win against Union St. Gilloise and Bayern’s Champions League exit at the hands of Manchester City.
At the start of the season the Bundesliga had eight teams competing for European glory across the three competitions, as we reach the semi-final stage, German representation is down to just one- Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League.
The Werkself are looking to emulate the feat achieved by Eintracht Frankfurt’s Eurofighters last season where they lifted the Europa League trophy in Seville, beating Glasgow Rangers on penalties. Leverkusen are now looking to reach the final in Budapest and like the Adler secure a backdoor into next season’s Champions League.
Gerardo Seoane took the club into this season’s Champions League group stage, but they could only scrape third place behind Porto, Club Brugge, but ahead of Atletico Madrid on a better head-to-head record.
Dropping into the Europa League, Monaco were dispatched after two thrilling games 7-6 on aggregate before Leverkusen ended Ferencvaros’ dreams of making the final in their home city with two 2-0 wins. The first-leg draw at home to Belgian surprise package Union St, Gilloise brought a 1-1 draw, but then the Rhinelanders produced an excellent display this week at the Lotto Park in Brussels to win 4-1 and book their place in a European semi-final for the first time since 2002.
“”We need a good mentality to fight and play in Europe” trainer Xabi Alonso explained after the win. “Coming here today and winning like this is not easy. We are super satisfied.
Keeper Lukas Hradecky was also impressed by the mental strength shown: “I just said to Jona [Tah] in the dressing room, rewind six months, where we were and how the team has developed.”
It has been quite the turnaround under rookie coach Xabi Alonso, who has taken the Werkself from 17th place when he took over to within touching distance of a European final and a place in Europe’s top competition again next season.
Leverkusen will face Jose Mourinho’s Roma in the semi-final after the Italians beat Feyenoord in their second leg to progress after a drawn first-leg. Should Leverkusen pass that formidable test, they would meet either Juventus or Sevilla in the final on May 21st.