Leverkusen - A late spurt at the end of the 2011/12 campaign under coaching duo Sami Hyypiä and Sascha Lewandowski earned Leverkusen a place in Europe and left many fans dreaming of what might be. Yet few could have imagined that their side would go from strength to strength and occupy second place in the standings at the halfay stage of the current campaign.

Ahead of Matchday 9, Leverkusen’s season was meandering along nicely enough, with 12 points on the board and the club in a solid fifth place. Up next was a potential make-or-break game away to a Bayern Munich side with a perfect record of eight wins from eight. As daunting as that prospect was, the Werkself came away with a 2-1 victory and the confidence-boost helped them to win six of their ensuing eight league fixtures to shoot up to second over the winter break.

While Leverkusen are able to boast a fearsome attacking line-up, there can be no doubt that is the main danger man. The Bundesliga’s highest scorer in the calendar year, the 28-year-old has fired in a league-leading twelve goals in the first half of the season. As if that wasn’t enough, they have been spread evenly between both feet and headers, further highlighting his unpredictability.

Since joining in summer 2012, 20-year-old has proven to be a shrewd signing for Leverkusen. The Spaniard, who moved from Real Madrid, is a marauding right-back whose pace and positioning make him a valuable member of the defence. However, it is going forward where he comes into his own, with pinpoint crosses and slick passes frequently causing trouble. From 14 league starts, Carvajal has scored once and provided four assists already.

94 - Percentage of Leverkusen's goals scored by a German player (31 out of 33).
29 - Number of league goals the side have scored from open play .
14 - No team has taken the lead more often than Leverkusen.
0 - Leverkusen are the only club not to have been beaten at home so far this season (six wins, two draws).

“I connected well and was obviously pleased it went in, but more so that we got our reward for a good first half. Watching the flight of the ball, I thought it might go in and it was obviously nice when it did,” Andre Schürrle reflects on his stunning goal against Schalke on Matchday 12.