Bayer Leverkusen just missed out on UEFA Champions League qualification in 2019-20, finishing a place and two points behind Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga.
Breaking into the top four in the new campaign looks a tough ask given the team have lost two key players over the summer. Star midfielder Kai Havertz has gone to Premier League side Chelsea, while Kevin Volland has signed for Ligue 1 side Monaco.
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Starting with the 2020-21 season, anyone in the US can watch every Bayer Leverkusen game live on ESPN+:
ESPN+ will have live coverage of every Bundesliga match in 20-21, as well as DFL Supercup, Bundesliga 2, Serie A, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, MLS and other live sports. It also includes every 30-for-30 documentary and additional original content (both video and written) all for $5.99 per month.
Or, if you also want Disney+ and Hulu, you can get all three for $12.99 per month, which works out to about 31 percent savings:
Once signed up for ESPN+, you can watch every Bayer Leverkusen match live on the ESPN app on your Roku, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV or Firestick, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iPhone, Android phone, iPad or Android tablet. Or you can watch on your computer via ESPN.com.
Bayer Leverkusen 2020-21 Preview
Leverkusen may have waved goodbye to their two top scorers and top assisters of last season but there’s no doubt they still possess plenty of attacking talent. Peter Bosz’s side play fast, attacking football and are one of the Bundesliga’s most attractive teams to watch. Last season’s 4-3 win at Borussia Dortmund was one of the games of the season.
Wingers Leon Bailey and Moussa Diaby will continue to create plenty of chances, while new striker Patrick Schick and Lucas Alario will be tasked with providing the goals for Leverkusen.
Meanwhile, 17-year-old starlet Florian Wirtz will be worth keeping an eye on in the new season. The teenager has already overtaken Havertz as Leverkusen’s youngest debutant and goalscorer.
Wirtz has also been tipped to have a similar impact to Havertz by Jörg Jakobs, the academy director at the youngster’s former club FC Koln.
“If he stays fit, he’s at least in the same category as Havertz. He has a combination of potential and extreme determination which is extremely rare. I’ve rarely seen an attacking player who works so hard at tracking back, despite the fact he could rely solely on his offensive ability. He wants to win every defensive duel as well, and that makes him a complete player.”
Defensively there is no shortage of talent either with the likes of Jonathan Tah, Edmond Tapsoba and Lars and Sven Bender in the squad. Into midfield and Charles Aranguiz has taken over the captaincy from Lars Bender who wants to “fully focus on my duties as a ‘normal’ player.'”
Aranguiz, who has been at Leverkusen since 2015 and has made almost 150 appearances for the club, has told the club’s website that he is not taking his new responsibility lightly.
“Lars is still our captain. Just that he is no longer wearing the armband. He has earned the respect of the whole team and the club. His decision came as a surprise but we accept it and we will support him at all times,” he said.
It’s an honour for me to lead the team onto the field. The club has placed great confidence in me – especially after my serious Achilles injury at the start. And I really feel at home in the team. We have ambitious targets. I’ll give my all for that. On the pitch. And off it as well. Together with Lars and the other leading players.”
Finishing was an issue for Leverkusen last season and Bosz will be hoping his side can sharpen up in front of goal in 2020-21, particularly with Havertz and Volland no longer around.
Transfer Ins and Outs
Schick is Leverkusen’s biggest signing of the summer so far. The 24-year-old cost a reported fee of €29m after scoring 10 goals in 28 games on loan with RB Leipzig last season.
The Czech Republic international told the club’s website he can’t wait to get started at the BayArena.
“Leverkusen are a very exciting club. When I played for Leipzig, I was able to see for myself what a great team Bayer 04 have. I like their kind of football, which is offensive and aggressive. Bayer 04 are a top club in the Bundesliga. And I’m very happy that I can continue playing in Germany and in Europe as well.”
The new arrival has already opened his account for his new club, scoring on his debut in Leverkusen’s 7-0 DFB-Pokal win over Eintracht Norderstedt.
Leverkusen have also signed goalkeeper Lennart Grill from Kaiserslautern and midfielder Adrian Stanilewicz from SV Darmstadt 98 on a free transfer.
Manager: Peter Bosz
Bosz is going to have to find a way to cope without Havertz and Volland in 2020-21 but don’t expect the 56-year-old to compromise his approach. The Leverkusen coach loves his teams to have the ball and go on the attack.
A disappointing end to last season brought defeat to Bayern Munich in the DFB-Pokal final and failure to qualify for the Champions League. Bosz will be eager to get his side back into the top four and has urged his club to invest and strengthen the squad.
“We need quality, not quantity. If we have to wait a little longer to obtain quality, we’ll simply wait. We can neither replace Kai nor his position on a like-for-like swap. Other players have to come
“We’ve lost 60 scorer points. It would be great if Patrik scores thirty goals and supplies 30 assists, but I don’t think he can manage it on his own. We’re working on it. There will be more to come.”
Leverkusen do still have time to make futher signings as the transfer window remains open until October 5. More arrivals may be needed if Bosz’s side are to find a way back into the top four of the Bundesliga.