How nice is Leverkusen’s double-winning season?

Is this Leverkusen’s greatest season ever?

Without a doubt. The club had never won the Bundesligabefore, and had only once lifted the German Cup. To win both in the same season without losing a game is undoubtedly the greatest achievement in the club’s history, and likely one that will never be topped.

Had they not lost the Europa League final to Atalanta, the campaign would have been even more remarkable but for a side whose most famous achievement up until this year was losing the Bundesliga, the German Cup final and the Champions League final in 2002, this season is a proud and memorable moment.

Is it the greatest season in German football history?

It’s hard to argue with an undefeated league and cup double, let alone one achieved by a head coach in his first full season in charge of a first team. No side had ever won the Bundesliga without losing before, so to do so by scoring a hatful of late goals and also win the German Cup certainly puts Leverkusennear the top of the conversation.

Jupp Heynckes‘ treble winning season with Bayern Munich in 2013, however, might just be ahead of Leverkusen based on the trophy haul. Heynckes’ Bayern won the league by a whopping 25 points and only lost once, earning 91 points (one more than Leverkusen did this season). They beat Stuttgart in the German Cup final, and in the Champions League they lost both in the group and in the knockouts but still advanced thanks to the away goal rule. In the final they famously beat Borussia Dortmund in London.

Hansi Flick won six trophies with Bayern Munich in 2020, including the club’s second treble. Although the Champions League was secured behind closed doors during the pandemic, the achievement remains high on the list.

Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich were sensational at times, and twice won the double. Hamburg’s 1982-83 season also deserves a mention, given the club won the league title as well as the European Cup that year. They lost four games that season, only twice in the league and never lost in the Bundesliga at home.

In the women’s game, 1. FFC Frankfurt’s undefeated treble in 2001-02 is hard to argue with. There’s also Wolfsburg women’s undefeated double of 2020, that was nearly a treble had they not lost the Champions League final, and Bayern Munich women’s undefeated league season this year.

Is it the most surprising season by a German team?

Kaiserslautern’s 1997-98 season probably tops Leverkusen’s, but it’s close.

The Red Devils won the Bundesliga title despite having just won promotion from the second division and remain the only team to have ever achieved the feat which stands as one of the biggest shocks in German football history.

Borussia Dortmund’s 1996-97 season might have been underwhelming domestically, but winning the Champions League was a big surprise, particularly as they beat a Juventus team with Zinedine Zidane and Didier Deschamps in the final.

Nevertheless, after 11 straight Bayern Munich titles, and both Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig considered the more likely challengers in recent years, Leverkusen’s title win, let alone an undefeated title victory, was certainly unexpected.

Where does the season rank in the history of Europe’s top leagues?

In Europe, undefeated league seasons are not as uncommon as it first appears. AC Milan (1992), Ajax (1995), Arsenal (2004), Porto (2011), Juventus (2012) and Celtic (2016) have all done it. Although, when it comes to great runs in Europe, nothing quite compares to Romanian club Steaua Bucharest going 119 games unbeaten domestically between 1986 and 1989.

Manchester United’s famous treble winning season in 1999 is worth a mention. United only lost three in the league, and went undefeated in a European run that ended in what many consider to be the most dramatic of finals. Their rivals Manchester City won the treble in 2023, losing five times in the league but also going undefeated on their way to European glory.

Arsenal’s women of 2007 is surely near the very top of the list. The club won every single competition available to them that season (six trophies), becoming the first British women’s club to win in Europe. They also won all 22 games in their league season, scoring 119 and conceding just 10.

Pep Guardiola winning six trophies with Barcelona in 2009 is considered one of the greatest seasons in football history. With Barcelona’s women winning the Champions League this season, they completed a quadruple with only one defeat.

In many ways, in a world of football competitions Leverkusen’s season is just another name on a list of memorable moments but in the context of their time and the position of the club domestically it will certainly go down as one of the greatest seasons in football history.

Edited by: James Thorogood