Bayer 04 Leverkusen


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
City Leverkusen (Nordrhein-Westfalen). Pop: 161,000 (2002)
Address Postfach 120140, 51346 Leverkusen
Phone: (0214) 86600 Fax: (0214) 62709
Colors Red-White-Black in various combos.
Stadium 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.
Tickets 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.
Supporters Bayer traditionally is one of the least supported clubs in the 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.
Foes 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 leaving.
German-Brazilian Ramon Hubner was a total flop in his stay in the late 1990s.
Beer 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, , 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

Recent History:

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