Bayer Leverkusen 2019-20 season preview: Can Bayer maintain their Champions League place?
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Bayer Leverkusen 2019-20 season preview: Can Bayer maintain their Champions League place?

After barely scraping a top-four finish under new management last season, can Peter Bosz take Bayer Leverkusen to higher places this season?

uttiyos
Uttiyo Sarkar

Under Peter Bosz first full campaign as manager, Bayer Leverkusen hopes “Bosz-ball” continues taking them forward in the Bundesliga. They displayed some beautiful stuff towards the second half of last season, reaffirming a UEFA Champions League place thanks to their new manager’s influence. Now with a pre-season under his belt and proper knowledge of his squad’s strengths, it remains to be seen whether the Dutch gaffer can take them to higher places.

Transfer Business Overview

The summer transfer window was a relatively bittersweet one for Leverkusen. While Peter Bosz did make some clever acquisitions from within the Bundesliga boundary, he also lost perhaps his biggest asset.

Kerem Demirbay is their high-profile signing this summer, being snapped for around €32 million for the wondrous centre-midfielder. The 25-year-old scored 4, assisted 9 goals for Hoffenheim last season and will definitely spice things up for his new side as well.

Exciting youngster Mousa Diaby’s also been signed for €15 million from Paris Saint-Germain to provide more depth in attack. Nadiem Amiri has also moved to Leverkusen for €9 million to further amplify their creative options, while former Ajax left-back Daley Sinkgraven moves to the Bundesliga side for €5 million.

However, Die Werkself will have been upset when Julian Brandt decided to move to Borussia Dortmund for €25 million, a steal for a man of his talents. Centre-midfielder Dominik Kohr was also shipped off to Eintracht Frankfurt for around €8.5 million, while goalkeepers Tomasz Kusz, Thorsten Kirshbaum were both released after their contract expired. Youngsters Sam Schreck, Jan Boller also moved on from the club.

The main reason of worry for the Dutch gaffer will definitely be the inability to find Brandt’s suitable replacement. Granted, Demirbay, as well as Amiri, strengthen their midfield options, but there’s nobody as dynamic or cutting-edge like the German brought in this window.

Too much pressure is now on young Kai Havertz to take multiple responsibilities on his shoulders and usher his side forward. Even defensively, after conceding 52 goals last season(tied second among top-half sides), they could’ve done with a strong defender to complement the rising Jonathan Tah. There’s still time for incomings. If Leverkusen wants to challenge up top, they need some more quality to force the issue.

Manager

Peter Bosz is a player-turned manager known for his diverse tactics which have resulted in some stunning football from the sides he’s managed so far. The winner of the 2017 Rinus Michel Award(Eredivisie Manager of the year), Bosz failed to impress under Borussia Dortmund’s expectations and ended up having a bittersweet introduction to the Bundesliga.

However,  he’s since rectified his mistakes to help a struggling Leverkusen find their footing. Bosz always focuses on quick-passing and transition from defence to attack with his team’s attacks, while also displaying a free-flowing system in which the players' interchange positions to unpredictable effect.  While he did experiment on a successful 3-4-3 formation last season, Bayer are expected to continue with their 4-3-3 formation which allowed wingers Havertz and the departed Brandt to operate freely going forward.

What is called “Bosz-ball” by many, the Dutch gaffer’s unique style produced some stunning football last season. As he keeps waiting for an illustrious trophy as a manager, Bosz will hope his boys can imperfect his philosophy to increase his title-count soon.

Player To Watch

Now that Brandt’s left for Dortmund, there remains only one left-footed German to rule over the throne at Bayer Leverkusen. Kai Havertz had his breakthrough season under Bosz last time around and after sticking with Die Werkself for this campaign, there’s little doubt he’ll be even more influential in how his side operates going forward.

The 20-year-old’s an astounding technical wizard with the cunning knack off getting into all the right positions to score regularly. He netted 20 goals and assisted seven in all competitions last season, absolutely blowing away oppositions with his lethal nature in the final third. Be it his quickness, dribbling ability on the ball or expert striking ability, Havertz has all the tools to influence Leverkusen’s attacking phenomena once again this time.

Now that he has even better midfielders to create better chances than him, the 20-year-old will flourish going forward. Of course, he could be forced to be more creative himself now that his partner in crime’s left, but Havertz’s marvellous work in possession almost guarantees exciting times ahead.

With Lucas Alario, Leon Baily, Kevin Volland still there to play to his strengths, the youngster should be the focal point of his side’s attacking moves this time around. Now it’s onto him to increase the chemistry with those players to retain his impressive clinical touch into the new season.

One for the Future

Peter Bosz is benefiting from having a really young, vibrant squad of players yet to hit their peak in form. However, there are still certain inexperienced individuals who will probably take some time to adapt to his system perfectly. New signing Moussa Diaby is one such individual with huge potential if taken proper care off by the Dutch gaffer.

The France U-20 internationals been impressing with his work in the international level, where he’s netted seven times in 10 appearances for his U20 team. While he was relatively underused at PSG due to the wealth in superior talent, Diaby still made his mark with some stunning performances in Ligue 1 last season. Not only did he net two goals, but also assisted for the French champions.

Diaby will effectively grant Leverkusen some much-needed width thanks to his expertise in operating at either wing, while his traits can thrive in the Bundesliga. An electric-quick individual who is very skilful on the ball, is precise with his delivery and has that hunger for goals, Diaby can be the discreet successor to Brandt. As long as Bosz allows him to express himself, take on defenders to showcase his many qualities, the 19-year-old could surely be Bundesliga’s next best French export in the near future.

Predicted Finish

Now it’s no secret that Bayer haven’t really boosted their squad like some of the other big sides in the Bundesliga. However, with Bosz’s expertise and the blooming youth they possess, Die Werkself should continue showcasing some thrilling attacking football throughout next season.

Of course, they probably won’t be challenging for the title this time either(unless some miracle consistency takes upon them), but should solidify a top-four spot. However, they could really gun for the DFB Pokal to get a trophy under their belt. In the Champions League, a round of 16/quarter-final berth will be more than delightful for the faithful. As long as Die Werkself display that sizzling attack-minded style which wooed fans last season, they should fulfil everyone’s expectations.

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