Kai Havertz has taken the Bundesliga by storm since emerging as one the finest players of his generation and leaves for Chelsea with a number of landmarks to his name at Bayer Leverkusen. bundesliga.com has picked out some of the Germany international's milestone moments from his time at the BayArena.
Bundesliga debut vs. Werder Bremen, 15 October 2016
Having helped the Leverkusen U17s lift the Bundesliga title in 2015/16 – scoring against Borussia Dortmund in the final – Havertz was promoted to the U19s at the start of 2016/17, having also been awarded the U17 Fritz Walter silver medal by the German Football Association. Senior coach Roger Schmidt could already see that he had a special talent on his hands.
"He's an excellent footballer with outstanding technical ability, and a gift for making the right decisions," the ex-Leverkusen boss enthused. "We saw him in training and decided to give him a bit of playing time, to see how he reacted to playing in a full stadium. It was quickly obvious that it didn't faze him one bit."
Havertz made his Bundesliga bow against Werder Bremen after getting a late call-up to replace Lars Bender, who was too ill to play. At 17 years, four months and five days old, he became the youngest-ever player to feature for Leverkusen's first team.
Watch: Kai Havertz exclusive
First Bundesliga goal vs. Wolfsburg, 2 April 2017
Havertz already had 16 Bundesliga appearances and a handful of assists under his belt by the time he found the back of the net for the first time at home to Wolfsburg. The teenager set another club record as he volleyed in sweetly to rescue a point for Leverkusen in a barnstorming 3-3 draw, surpassing Julian Brandt to become their youngest-ever goalscorer at 17 years, nine months and 23 days old.
Leverkusen demonstrated their growing faith in Havertz by also handing him three substitute appearances in that season's UEFA Champions League. He was given special dispensation to skip the last 16 second leg against Atletico Madrid, however, as he was preparing to take his high-school exams at the Landrat-Lucas school in Leverkusen. Proof of a maturity beyond his years both on and off the pitch.
First Bundesliga brace vs. Hertha Berlin, 20 May 2017
Leverkusen finished the 2016/17 campaign in a disappointing 12th place, with Schmidt relieved of his duties in March. Havertz continued to feature regularly under interim boss Tayfun Korkut, and served further notice of his potential with a first Bundesliga brace against Hertha Berlin on the final day of the season, in an impressive 6-2 away win.
That double made him the second-youngest player to net a Bundesliga brace after fellow Germany international Timo Werner, with whom he has been trading records of precocity for several years. All told, the 17-year-old rounded out the league season with four goals and six assists in 24 appearances, and the promise of greater things to come.
Fiftieth Bundesliga appearance vs. Eintracht Frankfurt, 14 April 2018
Werner became the youngest player to reach 50 Bundesliga appearances in February 2015, at 18 years, 11 months and 15 days old, but a little over three years later Havertz narrowly surpassed the RB Leipzig star, setting a fresh mark of 18 years, 10 months and four days old against Eintracht Frankfurt.
The Leverkusen man celebrated the milestone with two stylish assists, crossing for Brandt to open the scoring in the first half, and then setting Kevin Volland on the path to a second-half hat-trick with a cute backheel as Die Werkself romped to a 4-1 win over the Eagles. Havertz was substituted off to rapturous applause a few minutes before the final whistle.
"Technically speaking, what he does in games sometimes is unbelievable," a starry-eyed Brandt declared after the game. "He'll continue to progress in the coming years, and if he stays at the top of his game, I've no doubt he'll become an amazing player. Kai has the talent and potential to be a global star."
The DFB clearly agreed with Brandt's assessment. After the 2017/18 season – in which Leverkusen finished a far more respectable fifth – Havertz was awarded the prestigious U19 Fritz Walter gold medal. By the end of the campaign, the teen starlet was up to seven goals and 15 assists in the Bundesliga, but as it turned out he was only just getting started…
Watch: Kai Havertz - a tactical masterclass
First Bundesliga penalty vs. Wolfsburg, 26 January 2019
The first half of 2018/19 was a mixed bag for Havertz. He was on target six times during the Hinrunde, netting doubles in wins over Bremen and Hertha (again), as well as making his Germany debut in a friendly against Peru in September. But there were also lows for Leverkusen. Defeats to a host of their fellow European contenders left them ninth at Christmas, which led to Peter Bosz replacing Heiko Herrlich over the winter break.
The Dutchman took the bold decision of making Havertz his main penalty taker, despite his tender years, demonstrating a belief in the teenager's mental fortitude. It didn't take long for his faith to be repaid: in the second game after the winter break, Volland was brought down by William and Havertz coolly stroked the resulting spot-kick past Koen Casteels. At 19 years, seven months and 16 days old, he became – you've guessed it – Leverkusen's youngest ever penalty scorer.
The burden of responsibility sat just as lightly on Havertz's shoulders when Leverkusen won penalties in successive games against RB Leipzig and VfB Stuttgart in April. He converted both, earning all three points in a 1-0 victory over Die Schwaben. "We all know he's an extraordinary talent, even if he still has a lot to learn," Bosz observed. "He's ice-cool from the penalty spot. I stopped playing at 36, and even then I wasn't that calm from the spot."
Bundesliga teenage scoring record vs Hertha Berlin, 18 May 2019
Hertha must be fed up of facing Havertz on the final day of the season. After inspiring Leverkusen to that 6-2 win in 2017, he was up to his old tricks again two years later, providing the opener in a 5-1 away victory at the Olympiastadion. That took him onto a staggering 17 goals for the campaign – the most by a teenager in Bundesliga history – with a league-high nine of his strikes giving Bayer a 1-0 lead.
Having started in a midfield trio with Brandt and Charles Aranguiz in his first few games under Bosz, Havertz was gradually shifted into a more advanced role, ending up as the right-sided forward alongside Volland and Leon Bailey in the Dutchman's preferred 4-3-3. It meant the fledgling Germany international enjoyed a prolific run-in, with seven goals in the last seven games. The commanding win at Hertha allowed Leverkusen to snatch fourth place and the final Champions League spot away from Borussia Mönchengladbach, while Havertz was named in the 2018/19 Bundesliga Team of the Season.
Those performances certainly did not go unnoticed, with Germany legend Lothar Matthäus showering Havertz with praise. "He's set the bar very high. For me he was the player of the season," the 1990 Ballon d'Or winner and 1991 FIFA World Player of the Year told kicker. "If Havertz can maintain this high standard, with his natural talent, cleverness, presence on the pitch, and goal threat, then he could someday follow me as world footballer of the year."
Watch: Kai Havertz's Bundesliga mixtape
100th Bundesliga appearance vs. Cologne, 14 December 2019
It must have been a special moment for Havertz when he stepped out at the RheinEnergieStadion. He scrubbed Werner from the history books once again as he beame the youngest man to reach a century of Bundesliga outings, at just 20 years, six months and four days old.
Only three men have joined the 100 club before their 21st birthday: Leipzig goal machine Werner, former Schalke and Wolfsburg star Julian Draxler, now of Paris Saint-Germain, and Frankfurt legend Karl-Heinz 'Charly' Körbel, who holds the all-time record of 602 Bundesliga appearances for the Eagles. Distinguished company indeed.
Third youngest to 50 appearances vs. Union Berlin, 15 February 2020
Havertz celebrated his 50th Bundesliga win with a goal in Leverkusen’s 3-2 victory at Union Berlin, becoming the third youngest player in Bundesliga history to do.
Havertz brought up his half century at the tender age of 20 years and 249 days – a record bettered only by former Schalke man Draxler (20 years, 232 days) and Dortmund old boy Christian Pulisic (20 years, 235 days).
In the process, he took his Bundesliga tally to 29 goals and 21 assists - at the time a perfectly symmetrical 50 league goals.
And the bulk of those were decisive ones, with Havertz hitting 24 and laying on 16 - a total of 40 goals - in winning causes. That puts the returns of both Pulisic (10 goals/17 assists) and Draxler (12 goals/17 assists) from their own first 50 wins in the shade.
First player in league history to reach 35 goals scored before turning 21 vs. Freiburg, 29 May 2020
On his 116th of 118 Bundesliga appearances, Havertz became the first player in German top-flight history to score 35 goals before turning 21 to help his side past Freiburg.
Havertz flicked the ball to Bailey before continuing his run into the box where he was found by the Jamaican, and slotted the ball under Alexander Schwolow while holding off the challenge of Dominique Heintz.
It was his fifth goal since the Bundesliga's restart, more than any other player in the league following the coronavirus-enforced hiatus. It was also his first goal or assist in seven meetings with Freiburg.
Previously, Dieter Müller was the youngest player to score 35 league goals in 1975, at the age of 21 and 18 days.
Watch: All of Kai Havertz's Bundesliga goals and assists in 2019/20
Youngest player to 36 Bundesliga goals vs. Cologne, 17 June 2020
Havertz, who turned 21 on 11 June 2020, added a 36th goal to his tally with his effort against Cologne.
The Germany international steered home a Bailey cut-back to become the youngest player in Bundesliga history to reach 36 goals, consigning Müller to second place in the record books.
"Kai is a great lad and a very good footballer," said Müller, who hit 177 goals in 303 Bundesliga outings for Kickers Offenbach, Cologne, Stuttgart and Saarbrücken. "He's an incredible talent. All those goals don't happen by accident. I'm happy for him."
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