Bayer Leverkusen wins first Bundesliga title, ending Bayern Munich's 11-year reign

LEVERKUSEN, Germany (AP) — Bayer Leverkusen has won the Bundesliga for the first time, ending Bayern Munich's 11-year run as champion.

Florian Wirtz scored a hat trick as Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen beat Werder Bremen 5-0 Sunday to secure the club’s first-ever German league title with five games remaining. Leverkusen leads second-place Bayern Munich by 16 points.

Fans had already stormed onto the field when Leverkusen scored its fourth goal with seven minutes to go, and the final minutes were played in thick red smoke from supporters’ pyrotechnics while players on Leverkusen’s bench clapped along to songs, danced and hugged one another.

The fifth goal in the 90th brought more fans onto the field — hundreds this time — and the referee ended the game amid confusion and jubilation. Thousands of supporters crowded the field waving flags, flares and cardboard copies of the Bundesliga trophy.

Leverkusen finally shed its reputation as perennial runner-up after five second-place finishes in the league and one in the Champions League.

Victor Boniface settled Leverkusen's nerves with the opening goal from the penalty spot before Granit Xhaka hit an audacious long-range shot to make it 2-0 with half an hour to go.

Bremen folded after that with substitute Wirtz scoring a goal very similar to Xhaka's, then another on the counter in the 83rd and a third to end the game, his first career hat trick.


AP soccer:

James Ellingworth, The Associated Press