Founded in 1904 as the company club of the Bayer chemical company, Bayer Leverkusen has found success in many areas, particularily track & field and basketball. The soccer division was started in 1907, and everything was combined in 1928.
After gaining entry to the Bundesliga in 1979, Bayer has been a consistently good team in the last 10 years. The exception was 95/96, when only a closing minute goal saved them from relegation. However, the next season, they crowned their effort by finishing as runner-up and entering the Champions League as the 2nd German representative. The greatest success is winning the UEFA Cup in 1988 over Espanyol Barcelona. Certainly Leverkusen's success in the 1990s is a testament to the benfits of corporate sponsorship. But it is also a reflection of the ability to Bayer management to scout and develop untried, young foreign players, particularily from Brazil, and turn them into stars.
1998-99 saw Bayer put together a decent season. They were pretty much in 2nd behind Bayern for the entire season, but never really threatened for the title. The next season was different. Bayer looked to have fallen out after a couple of ass kickings by rivals Bayern Muenchen, but a great late season run put them in first place. Going into the final weekend, all they needed was a draw against lowly Unterhaching to take the title. Instead, they slumped to defeat, and when Bayern won their match, Leverkusen had indeed thrown away the title. Bayer would continue to live up to their nicknames, "Vizekusen", "Neverkusen", "Luserkusen" etc., none worse than in 2001-02 when they threw away an almost insurmountable 5 point lead to choke, and then preceded to lose the DFB Cup and Champions League finals! Among others, star player Michael Ballack left. Bayer signed several expensive new players, so there was little doubt that the following year they would be decent, if not perhaps direct title challengers. Instead, they sucked and not until the final day's 1-0 victory at already relegated Nuernberg were they able to save themselves.
Fortunately for the Aspirins, that season proved to be an aberation. For the next decade, Bayer, established themselves as a top level club, generally not seriously challenging for the title, but always in the upper echelons.
|Fullname|| Bayer Leverkusen Fußball GmbH
(Nordrhein-Westfalen). Pop: 161,000 (2002)
Postfach 120140, 51346 Leverkusen|
Phone: (0214) 86600 Fax: (0214) 62709
Red-White-Black in various combos.
BayArena. Capacity: 25,050 (21,000 seats).|
Rebuilt in 1986, this is one of the "nicest" stadiums in Germany - at least that's what Bayer says. It was known as the Ulrich-Haberland-Stadion until 1999. The complete renovation has transformed it into a modern facility, complete with a hotel and other mechanisms to seperate you from your money.
Range from about 27-35 euros (2004). Traditionally you could
always get tickets, depite the small stadium. (In the mid 80s, attendance
was under 9,000!). However, with the Bundesliga boom, expect sellouts.
|| Bayer traditionally is one of the least supported clubs
Bundesliga. This is perhaps because it's still viewed as a company
sponsored upstart. They also play in one of the smallest stadiums.
Nevertheless, they sold out all their matches in 2004, average 22,500.
Probably 1.FC Köln, due to regional rivalry. Although in recent years
Bayer has clearly been more successful, they don't get any respect from
the Koelner fans. || Heroes
|| With the rise of Bayer starting in the 1980s, many good
players have come forward, roughly 20 German internationals. Ulf
Kirsten, their all-time leading
scorer, was capped 51 times for Germany - with another 49 for the GDR.
Michael Ballack is considered the finest player to come out of
Germany in the 2000s; his departure to Bayern München would have
caused outrage if there were any fans. Defenders such as Jens Nowotny,
Carsten Ramelow, Christian Wörns have all made impact on the
national squad. Several Brazilians, such as Jorginho, Paulo Sergio,
Ze Elias, Emerson were starts in Germany, although most flopped when
German-Brazilian Ramon Hubner was a total flop in his stay in the late 1990s.
Alka-Seltzer. Ha-ha! The official sponsor is Bitburger, but I
wonder if any of the local pubs serve it.
||Grub and Pub ||
There is a formal restaurant overlooking the pitch. Of course, there is
also a McDonalds. This clever ploy allows Bayer to sell many of
their other products, such as Alka-Seltzer. || The Net
The official site, www.bayer04.de ,
not only covers important things like soccer, but also other sports and
other Bayer division, like Bayer Wuppertal volleyball. Seems like a waste
of bandwidth, but there you have it. For a fan page, try Rene Rimph's at
2013-14 (I) Bundesliga 4th
2012-13 (I) Bundesliga 3rd
2011-12 (I) Bundesliga 5th
2010-11 (I) Bundesliga 2nd
2009-10 (I) Bundesliga 4th
2008-09 (I) Bundesliga 9th
2007-08 (I) Bundesliga 7th
2006-07 (I) Bundesliga 5th
2005-06 (I) Bundesliga 5th
2004-05 (I) Bundesliga 6th
2003-04 (I) Bundesliga 3rd
2002-03 (I) Bundesliga 15th
2001-02 (I) Bundesliga 2nd
2000-01 (I) Bundesliga 4th
1999-00 (I) Bundesliga 2nd
1998-99 (I) Bundesliga 2nd
1997-98 (I) Bundesliga 3rd
1996-97 (I) Bundesliga 2nd
1995-96 (I) Bundesliga 14th
1994-95 (I) Bundesliga 7th
1993-94 (I) Bundesliga 3rd
1992-93 (I) Bundesliga 5th
1991-92 (I) Bundesliga 6th
1990-91 (I) Bundesliga 8th
1989-90 (I) Bundesliga 5th
1988-89 (I) Bundesliga 8th
1987-88 (I) Bundesliga 8th
1986-87 (I) Bundesliga 6th
1985-86 (I) Bundesliga 6th
1984-85 (I) Bundesliga 13th
1983-84 (I) Bundesliga 7th
1982-83 (I) Bundesliga 11th
1981-82 (I) Bundesliga 16th
1980-81 (I) Bundesliga 11th
1979-80 (I) Bundesliga 12th
1978-79 (II) 2.Bundesliga Nord 1st
1977-78 (II) 2.Bundesliga Nord 8th
1976-77 (II) 2.Bundesliga Nord 10th
1975-76 (II) 2.Bundesliga Nord 15th
1974-75 (III) Amateurliga Mittelrhein 1st
1973-74 (III) Amateurliga Mittelrhein 1st
1972-73 (II) Regionalliga West 17th
1971-72 (II) Regionalliga West 8th
1970-71 (II) Regionalliga West 7th
1969-70 (II) Regionalliga West 11th
1968-69 (II) Regionalliga West 8th
1967-68 (II) Regionalliga West 1st
1966-67 (II) Regionalliga West 10th
1965-66 (II) Regionalliga West 14th
1964-65 (II) Regionalliga West 16th
1963-64 (II) Regionalliga West 12th
Abseits Guide to Germany