Granit Xhaka tells Leverkusen team-mates to learn from Arsenal title race experience


Granit Xhaka has shared his Arsenal experience of losing a league lead to warn his Bayer Leverkusen team-mates of complacency in the Bundesliga title race.

Leverkusen moved 10 points clear of Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga standings following Sunday’s two-goal victory at Cologne, a day after Bayern Munich drew 2-2 at Freiburg.

Xabi Alonso’s side remain unbeaten in all competitions this season as Leverkusen aim for their first ever Bundesliga title, but Xhaka, 31, was in a comparable situation with Arsenal last campaign.

Arsenal beat Leeds United 4-1 on April 1 last season to move eight points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, although second-placed City had played one game fewer.

However, Mikel Arteta’s side — having won seven successive Premier League matches — won just two of their next eight in the competition, with City being crowned league champions with several games to spare.

“We should be proud of our position but nothing is won yet — I am speaking from my own experience of last season,” Xhaka told ESPN after Sunday’s match.

“We had a similar points advantage over the team in second and we did not win the league, so I know this experience and I have shared it with the dressing room.

“10 points is a lot when you have 10 games left, but there are still 30 points left to take so it is not over.”

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Bayern have won each of the most recent 11 Bundesliga titles while Leverkusen — who have been runners-up on five occasions in the past three decades — have never won the German top-flight.

Xhaka is using last year’s situation at Arsenal as a warning for his team-mates at Leverkusen, whom the Switzerland international midfielder joined last summer.

“Yes, and they know — they are asking me day by day because I have been in this situation before,” Xhaka said. “I was asked how it was, what happened to us, but you cannot explain with words – you have to feel it.

“That is why you must stay humble and work each day, like we have done all season and then see where we are after 34 games.”

Leverkusen are next in action against Azerbaijani side Qarabag in the Europa League on March 7 before returning to league action three days later with a home match against Wolfsburg.

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(ANP via Getty Images)





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