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Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen break European unbeaten record after Roma comeback

Champions of Germany and through to the finals of the DFB-Pokal and Europa League, Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen are on the cusp of sporting immortality.

Now just four matches away from a potential Invincible Treble, Xabi Alonso's all-conquering Bayer Leverkusen have broken Benfica's 59-year European record of 48 matches unbeaten after fighting back from 2-0 down at home to Roma in the second-leg of their Europa League semi-final to draw 2-2.

Trailing 2-0 courtesy of a brace of penalties from Roma's Leandro Paredes, Bayer Leverkusen launched the latest in a long line of sensational comebacks this season - levelling thanks to an own goal Gianluca Mancini in the 82nd minute and a 97th-minute equaliser from Croatia international Josip Stanisic.

On the back of this history-making night at BayArena, we examine the other distinguished sides across the continent to have embarked on sustained unbeaten runs in the post-war era...

Bayer Leverkusen

Bayer Leverkusen (2023 - )

49 matches unbeaten

Remarkably in just his second season in senior management, Xabi Alonso has been able to assemble a thrilling winning machine at Bayer Leverkusen.

Lining up in a novel 3-4-2-1 formation in which wing-backs Jeremie Frimpong and Alex Grimaldo are key creative outlets, Bayer play an eye-catching, possession-based game under the auspices of Spanish World Cup winner Alonso.

Winning the club's first ever Bundesliga title - breaking Bayern Munich's 11-year dominance in the German top flight in the process - Bayer Leverkusen have also reached the final of the DFB-Pokal where they will take on second tier Kaiserslautern and lead Roma 2-0 ahead of the second-leg of their Europa League semi-final.

Academy product Florian Wirtz has been one of the standout players during Bayer's historic campaign, with the 21-year-old attacking midfielder appearing destined for an illustrious career at the elite level.

Benfica (1963 - 1965)

48 matches unbeaten

Benfica are currently the benchmark as far as unbeaten runs in European football are concerned, with the Lisbon giants going 48 matches unbeaten between 1963 and 1965.

Winning back-to-back national titles during this period, as well as one Portuguese Cup (Taça de Portugal), Benfica were also runners up to Inter in the 1965 European Cup.

This distinguished Benfica side was led by talisman Eusebio, still the only footballer to receive the Ballon d'Or whilst on the books of a Portuguese club in 1965.

Dinamo Zagreb (2014 - 2015)

45 matches unbeaten

Winning a 10th consecutive Croatian national title without losing a match, Dinamo Zagreb also won the Croatian Cup in 2014/15, overcoming RNK Split following a penalty shootout.

Dinamo Zagreb's terrific unbeaten run was eventually ended by Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich in the group stages of the 2015/16 Champions League, with the Bavarians triumphing 5-0 at the Allianz Arena.

This distinguished Dinamo Zagreb outfit of 2014/15 included Croatia internationalists Josip Pivaric, Ante Coric and Marko Pjaca, as well as ex-Celtic defender Jozo Simunovic.

Rijeka (2016 - 2017)

45 matches unbeaten

Another Croatian side to have enjoyed a sustained period of success in the 2010s was Rijeka, who were also able to complete the domestic double in 2016/17.

Not losing between April 2016 and May 2017, Rijeka became champions of Croatia for the very first time and ended Dinamo Zagreb's 11-year streak of league titles.

Mario Gavranovic was a key part of this Rijeka side, with the 41-times capped Swiss forward eventually transferring to Dinamo Zagreb in 2018 where he would win four further Croatian titles.

Rangers (1992 - 1993)

44 matches unbeaten

A remarkable season in the history of a famous club, the 1992/93 campaign for Rangers saw the Govan side managed by Walter Smith win the domestic Treble and narrowly miss out on a place in the Champions League final.

The Gers even went unbeaten in the 1992/93 Champions League, drawing twice with eventual winners Marseille in the group stage.

This dominant Rangers team included a plethora of international players, including Andy Goram, Richard Gough, Ian Durrant, Stuart McCall, Mark Hateley and Ally McCoist.

Juventus (2011 - 2012)

43 matches unbeaten

Their first Serie A title in 9 years, with the Turin giants demoted to Serie B in 2006, Juventus went the 2011/12 season undefeated in Italy's top flight under Antonio Conte.

The first of nine consecutive Serie A titles for the Old Lady, Juventus were unable to make it a domestic double in 2011/12 after losing 2-0 to Napoli in the final of the Coppa Italia.

2011/12 was Andrea Pirlo's first season at Juventus following a free transfer from rivals Milan, with the legendary midfielder joining ranks with international teammates including Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Claudio Marchisio and Alessandro Del Piero in Turin.

Milan (1991 - 1992)

42 matches unbeaten

Boasting an Italian record of 58 matches unbeaten in Serie A between 1991 and 1993, Fabio Capello's Milan were as formidable as a football team could possibly be.

Coined 'Gli Invincibili', the Invincibles in English, this 1991/92 campaign in which Milan captured the Serie A title was part of a golden period for the Rossoneri in which Milan were widely recognised as one of the best teams in Europe.

This particular Milan side of 1991/92 was spearheaded by Dutch goal machine Marco van Basten, who was supported by a number of world class players such as Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Frank Rijkaard and Ruud Gullit.

Ajax (1994 - 1996)

42 matches unbeaten

One of the finest achievements of any European club side in the post-war era, Ajax won the Eredivisie and Champions League in the 1994/95 campaign without losing a single game in either competition.

Overcoming Milan 1-0 in the 1995 Champions League final in Vienna courtesy of a late winner from Patrick Kluivert, Louis van Gaal's Ajax lost just one competitive match all season - going down 2-1 to rivals Feyenoord in the quarter-finals of the KNVB Cup.

This illustrious Ajax side was packed full of Dutch legends, including Edwin van der Sar, Frank Rijkaard, Clarence Seedorf, Edgard Davids, Marc Overmars and Patrick Kluivert.

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