Julian Brandt wants to be playing UEFA Champions League football with Bayer Leverkusen next season. - © 2019 Getty Images
Julian Brandt wants to be playing UEFA Champions League football with Bayer Leverkusen next season. - © 2019 Getty Images
bundesliga

Julian Brandt: "I'm enjoying myself at Bayer Leverkusen!"

Julian Brandt was like the cat that got the cream after fuelling Bayer Leverkusen's UEFA Champions League ambitions with a goal and assist in their 6-1 demolition of fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.

Brandt was instrumental as Leverkusen rattled off six first-half goals in a record-breaking show of muscle that took the Rhineland club level on points with Frankfurt with only two games to go.

European qualification, preferably of the Champions League variety, is now a very real possibility for a team who were down in ninth at the turn of the year.

"Those tips you gave us really paid off!" Brandt (r.), pictured here with former Frankfurt goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky (l.), celebrated an historic win on Matchday 32. - 2019 Getty Images

"That first half was insane," Brandt said. "I don't think I've ever seen or experienced anything like that in my life! If someone told us before the game we were going to score six first-half goals, we wouldn't have believed them. It's going really well right now."

So well in fact that Leverkusen are the Bundesliga's third-best performing team in 2019 after leaders Bayern Munich and third-placed RB Leipzig, accumulating more points in their first 15 matches under Peter Bosz (30) than they did in Heiko Herrlich's last 17 at the helm (24).

Brandt's displays mirror Leverkusen's upward trajectory. In 17 Hinrunde appearances (15 starts), the 24-time Germany international midfielder registered one goal and two assists. Starting every game under former Borussia Dortmund coach Bosz, he has made nine and taken a further five of his own.

Julian Brandt was on target as Bayer Leverkusen thrashed Eintracht Frankfurt with six first-half goals. - 2019 DFL

"I'm enjoying myself," said 23-year-old Brandt, whose red-hot performances have been fanning the flames of speculation ever since he broke onto the Bundesliga scene with Leverkusen during the latter half of 2013/14. "I've got a contract with Bayer until 2021, so right now all is well.

"As things stand, I'm staying put. I just want to end the season as best we can."

On a four-match winning run, Leverkusen host already safe Schalke on the penultimate weekend, before concluding their season away to mid-table Hertha Berlin. If they take maximum points and Frankfurt slip up in either of their remaining league fixtures against Mainz and Bayern, Die Werkself will be guaranteed Champions League football next season.

No wonder Brandt is planning to stick around.