15.04.2024 15:16 h

Wirtz and Xhaka 'staying', says Rolfes

Florian Wirtz and Granit Xhaka will both stay with freshly-minted Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen beyond the summer, sporting director Simon Rolfes said Monday.

Leverkusen clinched the first league title in their 120-year history with a 5-0 thrashing of Werder Bremen on Sunday, with Wirtz scoring a hat-trick and Xhaka also getting a goal.

The surprise title victory, which broke Bayern Munich's 11-year stranglehold on the German league, led to speculation that several players could leave, including 20-year-old Wirtz.

In an interview with Spiegel published Monday, the day after Leverkusen's title triumph, Rolfes said "Granit is staying, Florian too".

Wirtz, billed as a future star of world football, "is a figure people can identify with. With his grit and his willpower, he's a very special and important player for future successes."

Xhaka, who joined Leverkusen from Arsenal before the start of the season, played more minutes than any other player in the league for Alonso's side.

Leverkusen only had two major titles in the club's history before Sunday but are on track for a remarkable treble.

Xabi Alonso's side, still unbeaten after 43 matches, are in the German Cup final and have a 2-0 lead after the first leg in the Europa League quarter-finals against West Ham, with the second leg to be played in London on Thursday.

Rolfes ruled out big changes in the summer,.

"If we make any big changes in summer, it would only be to bring in top people like Granit who are regular players," he said.