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Bayer Leverkusen
Full name TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen e. V.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fußball
GmbH (Football)
Nickname(s) Werkself ("Factory Squad"), "Neverkusen"
Founded 1 July 1904
Ground BayArena, Leverkusen,
formerly "Ulrich-Haberland-Stadion"
(Capacity: 30,210)
President Germany Wolfgang Holzhäuser
Manager Germany Jupp Heynckes
League Bundesliga
2008–09 Bundesliga, 9th
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours

Bayer 04 Leverkusen is a German football club based in Leverkusen, North Rhine-Westphalia. It is the most well-known department of TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen, a sports club whose members also participate in athletics, gymnastics, basketball and other sports.




Origins and the early years

On 27 November 1903 Wilhelm Hauschild wrote a letter – signed by 170 of his fellow workers – to his employer, the Friedrich Bayer and Co., seeking the company's support in starting a sports club. The company agreed to support the initiative, and on 1 July 1904 Turn- und Spielverein Bayer 04 Leverkusen was founded.[1]

On 31 May 1907 a separate football department was formed within the club. In the culture of sports in Germany at the time, there was significant animosity between gymnasts and other types of athletes. Eventually this contributed to a split within the club: on 8 June 1928 the footballers formed a separate association – Sportvereinigung Bayer 04 Leverkusen – that also included the handball and fistball players, athletics, and boxing, while the gymnasts carried on as TuS Bayer 04 Leverkusen. SV Bayer 04 Leverkusen took with them the club's traditional colours of red and black, with the gymnasts adopting blue and yellow.

Through this period, and into the 1930s, SV Bayer 04 Leverkusen played third and fourth division football. In 1936, they earned promotion to the second highest class of play of the period. That was also the year that the club wore the familiar "Bayer" cross for the first time. They made their first appearance in upper league play in 1951, in the Oberliga West and played there until 1956, after which they were relegated. SV Bayer 04 Leverkusen would not return to the upper leagues until 1962, just one season before the formation of Germany's new professional league, the Bundesliga. The next year saw the club in the Regionalliga West, tier II, where their performances over the next few seasons left them well down the league table.

2. Bundesliga and 1. Bundesliga

Bayer Leverkusen historical team logos.

SV Bayer 04 Leverkusen made something of a breakthrough in 1968, by winning the division title, but were unable to advance through the playoff round to the first division. They were relegated again in 1973, but made a quick return to what was now called the 2. Bundesliga after just one season spent in the third division. Four years later, the team handily secured a place in the Bundesliga to start to play there in the 1979-80 season.

By the mid-1980s, SV Bayer 04 Leverkusen had played their way into the upper half of the league table and were well-established there by the end of the decade. It was during this time, in 1984, that the two halves of the club that had parted ways over half a century ago were re-united as TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen e.V. The new club took red and white as their colours.

In addition to becoming an established Bundesliga side, the club earned its first honours with a dramatic win in the 1988 UEFA Cup. Down (0:3) to Espanyol after the first leg of the final, they drew even in the return match and then captured the title (3:2) on penalty kicks.

That same year, long-time Bayer Leverkusen executive Reiner Calmund became the general manager of the club. This is regarded as one of the most important moves in the club's history, as Calmund ushered in a decade and a half of the club's greatest success through shrewd, far-sighted player acquisitions.

After the German reunification in 1990, Reiner Calmund was quick to sign East German stars Ulf Kirsten, Andreas Thom, and Jens Melzig. The three players would become instant crowd favourites, and make significant contributions to the team. Calmund also established groundbreaking contacts in Brazilian football, befriending Juan Figer, one of Brazil's most powerful player agents. Over the next few years, budding superstars, such as Jorginho and Paulo Sérgio, joined the team, as did Czech star Pavel Hapal. They also signed charismatic players, such as Bernd Schuster, and Rudi Völler, helping to ensure the team's popularity and growing success.

The club captured its next honours in 1993, with a 1-0 win in the German Cup over a surprising Hertha Berlin amateur squad. In the following season, in a game also known for its 45 m "German Goal of the Year" by Schuster (a goal which was later also named "Goal of the Decade"), Bayer 04 played against Eintracht Frankfurt early in the season, and, as both a "tip of the hat" to their own history as well as an attempt to perhaps upset the Frankfurt team, Bayer played in its new 3rd colors, which were old-fashioned red and black stripes. (The jerseys were similar to the ones Frankfurt generally wore at the time.) This proved so popular with the fans that, very shortly thereafter, the team reverted back to its "retro" colors of red and black, colors used on all home jerseys since then.

After a near disaster in 1996 when the club faced a relegation battle, Bayer Leverkusen established itself as a powerful side, offering a technically pleasing offensive style of play under new coach Christoph Daum, who was also helped by the signing of players such as Lúcio, Emerson, Zé Roberto, and Michael Ballack. Daum was later to be famously fired for a cocaine scandal that also cost him his ascent to the role of the national team coach.

The Almost Champions

The team earned a series of top four finishes from 1997 to 2002 that included four second place finishes. The finishes of 2000 and 2002 were heart-breaking for supporters as on both occasions the team had the Bundesliga title within its grasp. In 2000, Bayer Leverkusen needed only a draw against Unterhaching to win the title, but an own goal by Ballack helped send the team to a crushing 2-0 defeat, while Bayern Munich clinched the title with a (3:1) victory over Werder Bremen. Two years later, the club surrendered a five point lead atop the league table by losing two of its last three matches while Borussia Dortmund swept ahead with three consecutive victories in its final matches. The 2002 season has been dubbed the "Treble Horror", as Bayer Leverkusen were also beaten 4-2 in the German Cup final by Schalke 04, and lost the UEFA Champions League final to Real Madrid by 2 goals to 1, which also led to some of the English language media dubbing them "Neverkusen". Still, the club entered the record books as the first team ever to reach the UEFA Champions League final without winning a national championship before. They even had to qualify first for the participation in that year's UEFA Champions League.

Recent years

The club went through startling reversals of fortune in the next two seasons. In the 2002 offseason, the team lost influential midfield stars Michael Ballack, and Zé Roberto, to archrivals Bayern Munich. The team flirted with relegation through most of the 2002-03 season leading to the firing of Klaus Toppmöller, who had coached the team during its most successful year, and he was replaced by the inexperienced Thomas Hörster. Charismatic coach Klaus Augenthaler took up the reins in the last two games of the season and helped avoid disaster with a win over his previous club Nuremberg. He then led Bayer Leverkusen to a third place finish and a Champions League place the following year.

That following season's run in the Champions League saw them get some measure of revenge on Real Madrid, opening their group stage campaign with a 3-0 rout of the Spanish giants, they would go on to win the group, but were defeated in the first knockout round by eventual champions Liverpool F.C. The club finished 6th during the 2004-05 season, and would enter the UEFA Cup the following season.

Early in 2005, Augenthaler was in turn fired as manager after the club got off to their worst Bundesliga start in over twenty years, with only one win in their first four league matches and a (0-1) home loss to CSKA Sofia in the first leg of their UEFA Cup match-up. Former German national team coach Rudi Völler was named as caretaker manager. Michael Skibbe, who was Rudi Völler's assistant coach at the national team, was named as his successor in October. Skibbe turned their season around and guided the club to a 5th place finish, earning another UEFA Cup place.

The 2007-08 season was not a successful one for Bayer Leverkusen despite a good start to the seaon. 5 out of the last 10 season games were lost to clubs in the lower half of the table. Michael Skibbe was heavily criticised towards the end of the season after he continuously changed his starting line up. Bayer Leverkusen also lost a lot of their support towards the end of the season. In the 1-2 home loss against Hertha BSC Berlin, the Leverkusen fans caused a lot of commotion. Not only were they yelling their trainer to leave but Ultra fans who had seen enough, set fire to their Jerseys which were then thrown onto the field. Michael Skibbe was fired in the afternoon of the 21 May 2008. The reason for his departure was due to the fact that Leverkusen's goal for the season, to qualify for the UEFA Cup, was not reached.

The 2008-09 season got off to a great start for Bayer Leverkusen under their new Trainer Bruno Labbadia, who they had acquired from the Second League team SpVgg Greuther Fürth. As the season progressed however, the team failed to achieve any wins against top clubs in the Bundesliga, despite making it to the German Cup Final in Berlin where they then lost to a motivated Werder Bremen team. Leverkusen ended ninth in the season and Bruno Labbadia moved to Hamburger SV in June 2009. After only a couple of hours, Bayer Leverkusen presented their new Trainer Jupp Heynckes, who had just previously trained Bayern Munich after Jürgen Klinsmanns departure.

Recent seasons

Year Division Position
1999-2000 Bundesliga (I) 2nd
2000-01 Bundesliga 4th
2001-02 Bundesliga 2nd
2002-03 Bundesliga 15th
2003-04 Bundesliga 3rd
2004-05 Bundesliga 6th
2005-06 Bundesliga 5th
2006-07 Bundesliga 5th
2007-08 Bundesliga 7th
2008-09 Bundesliga 9th

Club culture

In contrast to many other German football clubs, which hold close ties to their working class roots, Bayer Leverkusen strives for a clean, family-friendly image. The BayArena has the reputation of being one of the most family-friendly football stadiums in Germany. Ironically, Bayer 04 was the first Bundesliga club with an Ultrà-culture and the city of Leverkusen is one of the most industrial working class cities in Germany.

Bayer Leverkusen is perceived by some to have an ongoing image problem of a different sort. Although they are a financially healthy club with a stable of strong players, many fans of the old school clubs denounce Bayer Leverkusen as a "plastic club", without traditions or a committed fan base, existing solely as a creature of their rich pharmaceutical company sponsor. This is not unknown in football and other famous clubs such as PSV Eindhoven, Parma and Sochaux share a similar reputation. As a result, the club and their fans started to be proud of their industrial origins, calling themselves "Werkself" (factory team, millhanders) or "Pillendreher" (tablet twisters).





2nd Bundesliga North:



UEFA Champions League:

  • Runners-up (1): 2002



For recent transfers, see List of German football transfers summer 2009 and List of German football transfers winter 2009–10.

Current squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Germany GK René Adler
2 Germany DF Daniel Schwaab
3 Germany DF Stefan Reinartz
4 Finland DF Sami Hyypiä
5 Germany DF Manuel Friedrich
6 Germany MF Simon Rolfes (captain)
7 Switzerland MF Tranquillo Barnetta
8 Germany MF Lars Bender
9 Germany FW Patrick Helmes
10 Brazil MF Renato Augusto
11 Germany FW Stefan Kießling
15 Ghana DF Hans Sarpei
No. Position Player
18 Poland MF Tomasz Zdebel
19 Switzerland FW Eren Derdiyok
20 Germany DF Lukas Sinkiewicz
21 Germany GK Tomasz Bobel
22 Germany GK Benedikt Fernandez
23 Chile MF Arturo Vidal
24 Czech Republic DF Michal Kadlec
27 Germany DF Gonzalo Castro
28 Turkey MF Burak Kaplan
36 Germany GK Fabian Giefer
37 Slovenia MF Kevin Kampl
39 Germany MF Toni Kroos (on loan from Bayern Munich)

Players out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Brazil DF Anderson (at Fortuna Düsseldorf until June 2010)
Côte d'Ivoire DF Constant Djakpa (at Hannover 96 until June 2010)
Germany FW Richard Sukuta-Pasu (at FC St. Pauli until June 2010)
Greece FW Theofanis Gekas (at Hertha BSC until June 2010)
Germany DF Jens Hegeler (at FC Augsburg until June 2010)
Germany DF Bastian Oczipka (at FC St. Pauli until June 2010)
Germany MF Marcel Risse (at 1. FC Nuremberg until June 2010)
Germany DF Nils Teixeira (at Kickers Offenbach until June 2010)

Bayer 04 Leverkusen II squad

As of 7 August 2009

Manager: Germany Ulf Kirsten Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Germany GK Fabian Giefer
2 Germany DF Tim Rubink
3 Turkey DF Erdal Celik
4 Germany DF Marius Schultens
5 Germany DF Markus Happe
6 Republic of Macedonia MF Sevdail Selmani
8 Germany MF Stefan Grummel
9 Bulgaria FW Atanas Kurdov
11 Germany FW Sascha Marquet
12 Germany DF Ricco Weiler
No. Position Player
13 Poland FW Maciej Zięba
15 Brazil DF Leonardo
16 Germany DF Sascha Eichmeier
17 Germany MF Henning Sauerbier
18 Germany FW Dominick Drexler
19 Germany MF Bjorn Kluft
20 Chile MF Gonzalo Vasquez
21 Germany GK Dominik Poremba
22 Germany GK David Thiel

Past Players

Bayer Leverkusen's "Squad of the Century"

On 21 May 2004, Bayer Leverkusen announced their "Bayer Leverkusen Squad of the Century".

Pos Nat. Player Period
GK Germany Rüdiger Vollborn 1983–1999
DF Brazil Jorginho 1989–1992
DF Germany Jens Nowotny 1996–2006
DF Brazil Lúcio * 2001–2004
DF Brazil Juan * 2002–2007
MF Germany Bernd Schneider 1999–2009
MF Germany Michael Ballack * 1999–2002
MF Brazil Emerson 1997–2000
MF Brazil Zé Roberto * 1998–2002
FW Germany Ulf Kirsten 1990–2003
FW Germany Rudi Völler 1994–1996

*: Player is still active.

Manager History

Women's section


See also

External links


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