Will Leverkusen win the Bundesliga title? This is the question on every Bayer Leverkusen fans' lips as they find themselves in such a promising position to lift the trophy for the first time. They are currently four points clear at the top of the table, albeit second-placed Bayern Munich have played a game fewer, and are remarkably still unbeaten this season. Their resilience begs the question of if they can go all the way…
Will Leverkusen win the Bundesliga title? – Current outrights
Bayern Munich – 4/9
Unsurprisingly, despite trailing Leverkusen for much of the race, Bayern are still considered favourites by betting markets to win the title once again. They are by far the most successful team in German football, boasting a whopping 32 Bundesliga titles, and pipped Borussia Dortmund to the post last season in a memorable final day in the German top flight.
Bayer Leverkusen – 9/4
Leverkusen are still considered second-favourites by betting markets to lift the trophy, with their inexperience of winning the Bundesliga a telling factor. However, their odds have shortened significantly from where we first explored them earlier this campaign, after they earned a respectable 2-2 draw against Bayern at the Allianz Arena.
RB Leipzig – 80/1
Leipzig are considered the next favourites to win the Bundesliga by betting markets should Leverkusen or Bayern fail to capitalise, but are nine points off the top in fourth place. Like Leverkusen, they have never won the league title before, and should not be a major threat in the race.
Can the “Nearly Men” break their Bundesliga curse?
The short answer is “yes”. This Leverkusen team look as best equipped as they have ever been, led by a master tactician in Xabi Alonso who knows what it takes to win big trophies from his time as a player. They will also be desperate to secure their first Bundesliga title in their history, and brush off the unfortunate nicknames of the “Nearly Men” and “Neverkusen” branded to them.
Indeed, Leverkusen not only have never won the Bundesliga, but have not won a major trophy in over 30 years. They finished in second place in the league four times between 1997 and 2002, and also lost the DFB-Pokal and UEFA Champions League final in the same season in that spell. Leverkusen will look to cast their demons aside this term, and finish the Ruckrunde – referring to rounds 18-34 in the Bundesliga – still top of the tree.
Last season's Ruckrunde started off poorly, with three defeats in their opening four games, but then a nine-match unbeaten run helped Leverkusen qualify for European football, after a disastrous start to the campaign. They are yet to be beaten this term, and will want that to continue for as long as possible in order to fend off their nearest title challengers.
Will Leverkusen win the Bundesliga title? – Key fixtures
20th January – RB Leipzig (A)
Leverkusen take a potentially tricky trip to Leipzig in just a couple of weeks, with them set to be their closest challengers after Bayern according to betting markets. Alonso's men beat them 3-2 at home in the first game of the season, to kick off this extraordinary campaign.
10th February – Bayern Munich (H)
The fixture everyone's waiting for sees the two German titans meet again next month, this time with Leverkusen as hosts. The 2-2 draw at Bayern in September were the first dropped points of the campaign, but left the impression that Alonso's team could challenge the reigning champions.
26th April – VfB Stuttgart (H)
Stuttgart have been the Bundesliga's surprise packages, and currently sit eight points behind Leverkusen in third. They held Leverkusen to a 1-1 draw in their home stadium, and so will be tough opponents come the business end of the season.