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Granit Xhaka driven by past heartbreak as Leverkusen aims for Bundesliga glory

Posted : 11 March 2024

Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Granit Xhaka revealed on Sunday that the pain of losing last year's Premier League title with Arsenal has fueled his determination in this season's Bundesliga campaign. Leverkusen secured a 2-0 victory over 10-man Wolfsburg at home, reestablishing their lead over second-placed Bayern Munich to 10 points with nine games left.


This positions Xabi Alonso's team on track for a potential historic top-flight title, and Xhaka, who joined Leverkusen from Arsenal in the summer, emphasized drawing motivation from last season's disappointment.


Reflecting on Arsenal's experience last season, where they held an eight-point lead in the Premier League only to be overtaken by Manchester City, Xhaka expressed the difficulty in describing the emotions associated with such a setback.


Looking ahead, he voiced determination to avoid a repeat scenario, emphasizing the importance of staying focused with nine crucial games remaining in the Bundesliga. Xhaka acknowledged that the upcoming weeks will be pivotal for Leverkusen's title aspirations and stressed the need for sustained hard work.


The Switzerland captain has played a stabilizing role for Alonso's youthful Leverkusen team, showcasing his proficiency with just two misplaced passes out of 165 during the recent victory over Wolfsburg. Xhaka's impact was also evident when he came off the bench against Qarabag in the Europa League, helping Leverkusen secure a draw after initially trailing 2-0, preserving their unbeaten record this season.


 Despite England captain Harry Kane's hat-trick for Bayern in their 8-1 win against Mainz, Xhaka asserted that Leverkusen does not feel added pressure, emphasizing their consistent focus on doing their job regardless of other results. Looking ahead, Leverkusen faces Qarabag in the Europa League on Thursday, with victory potentially propelling them into the quarterfinals.


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