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.

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:

1963-64	(II)	Regionalliga West	12th
1964-65	(II)	Regionalliga West	16th
1965-66	(II)	Regionalliga West	14th
1966-67	(II)	Regionalliga West	10th
1967-68	(II)	Regionalliga West	1st
1968-69	(II)	Regionalliga West	8th
1969-70	(II)	Regionalliga West	11th
1970-71	(II)	Regionalliga West	7th
1971-72	(II)	Regionalliga West	8th
1972-73	(II)	Regionalliga West	17th
1973-74	(III)	Amateurliga Mittelrhein	1st
1974-75	(III)	Amateurliga Mittelrhein	1st
1975-76	(II)	2.Bundesliga Nord	15th
1976-77	(II)	2.Bundesliga Nord	10th
1977-78	(II)	2.Bundesliga Nord	8th
1978-79	(II)	2.Bundesliga Nord	1st
1979-80	(I)	Bundesliga		12th
1980-81	(I)	Bundesliga		11th
1981-82	(I)	Bundesliga		16th
1982-83	(I)	Bundesliga		11th
1983-84	(I)	Bundesliga		7th
1984-85	(I)	Bundesliga		13th
1985-86	(I)	Bundesliga		6th
1986-87	(I)	Bundesliga		6th
1987-88	(I)	Bundesliga		8th
1988-89	(I)	Bundesliga		8th
1989-90	(I)	Bundesliga		5th
1990-91	(I)	Bundesliga		8th
1991-92	(I)	Bundesliga		6th
1992-93	(I)	Bundesliga		5th
1993-94	(I)	Bundesliga		3rd
1994-95	(I)	Bundesliga		7th
1995-96	(I)	Bundesliga		14th
1996-97	(I)	Bundesliga		2nd	
1997-98	(I)	Bundesliga		3rd
1998-99	(I)	Bundesliga		2nd	
1999-00	(I)	Bundesliga		2nd
2000-01	(I)	Bundesliga		4th
2001-02	(I)	Bundesliga		2nd
2002-03 (I)	Bundesliga		15th
2003-04 (I)	Bundesliga		3rd
2004-05 (I)	Bundesliga		6th
2005-06 (I)	Bundesliga		5th
2006-07 (I)	Bundesliga		5th
2007-08 (I)     Bundesliga		7th
2008-09 (I)     Bundesliga		9th
2009-10 (I)     Bundesliga		4th
2010-11 (I)     Bundesliga		2nd
2011-12 (I)     Bundesliga

Abseits Guide to Germany