Peter Bosz (l.) has every faith in Kai Havertz (r.) after the Bayer Leverkusen star's two-goal haul during the winter break. - © imago images
Peter Bosz (l.) has every faith in Kai Havertz (r.) after the Bayer Leverkusen star's two-goal haul during the winter break. - © imago images
bundesliga

Peter Bosz backs Kai Havertz to get back to his brilliant best with Bayer Leverkusen

Bayer Leverkusen head coach Peter Bosz believes that Germany midfielder Kai Havertz is getting back to his brilliant best ahead of the second half of the season.

Havertz netted a stunning 17 league goals in 2018/19, but he admitted recently that it's been "difficult to keep pace" with what he achieved while helping Leverkusen to a fourth-place finish.

An injury that saw Havertz miss several games in November didn’t help, but the 20-year-old got back amongst the goals during his side’s winter training camp in Spain.

After watching him score twice in a friendly match against Dutch top-flight outfit Utrecht, Bosz feels that the talented youngster is looking in good shape.

Watch: See all of Havertz's Bundesliga goals so far 

"Kai isn't down," the Leverkusen head coach told German sports magazine kicker. “I saw from the first day of training that’s he's clear in his mind. That's important for such a young player.

"I also spoke to him and told him that when he doesn't score or make a goal now, things can look different. He's already scored two goals [against Utrecht]. But regardless of that, I think he played really well. He was involved everywhere and ran a lot. That was once again the Kai that we all know."

In December Havertz – who has two league goals this season – became the youngest player to feature in 100 Bundesliga games. Shortly before reaching that mark, he was also named as the third best player aged 21 or under in Europe in 2019 – behind only Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix and Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho.

Watch: Kai Havertz exclusive interview

The Aachen native has recently been joined at Leverkusen by another talented young midfielder, after Exequiel Palacios moved from River Plate to Germany over the winter. The 21-year-old made his Leverkusen debut this month in a bruising 3-2 friendly win over Swiss side St. Gallen, immediately impressing his new boss.

"It was my first time seeing him live – I liked him a lot," Bosz said afterwards.

"If you didn't really go into your tackles, it would have been hard. He did that well. But for me, it was more important that – not only did he do well defensively and played hard – but that he also showed that in possession of the ball he is a very good player."

Exequiel Palacios made his debut for Bayer Leverkusen in their winter training camp, ahead of the return of the Bundesliga. - imagoimages

Palacios must sit out the first three games of the second half of the season owing to a suspension carried over from his time with River Plate. He’ll be joined on the sidelines initially by Chilean midfielder Charles Aranguiz, who suffered a calf injury in recent weeks.

Sven Bender and Joel Pohjanpalo also picked up less serious knocks, but former Dortmund coach Bosz said that overall the training camp in Spain had been “very positive” for his team.

Leverkusen are sixth in the table at the halfway stage of this season's Bundesliga, and will resume their campaign with an away match at bottom club Paderborn on Sunday 19 January.

Die Werkself also have a DFB Cup last-16 game against VfB Stuttgart and a UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie against Porto to look forward to in February.