Leverkusen have one very special fan who followed them everywhere last season, yet has never seen them play.
Leverkusen have one very special fan who followed them everywhere last season, yet has never seen them play.

The Bayer Leverkusen fan who heard it all last season

Only six players went the whole distance in the 2016/17 Bundesliga season, with Oliver Baumann, Ralf Fährmann, Rune Jarstein, Bernd Leno, Alexander Schwolow and Yann Sommer playing every minute for their clubs.

Click here to download the free, official Bundesliga app!

What do they all have in common? They are all goalkeepers. That was easy, but not as easy as it is to hear every Leno save as one man did last season.

Gerhard Stoll did not miss a second of Bayer Leverkusen's Bundesliga fixtures in 2016/17 – home or away. He was there for all of Leno's performances, whether from his habitual pew in the South Stand of the BayArena, or down in Munich's Allianz Arena.

Stoll followed his team the length and breadth of Germany, yet there is something intriguing about the 49-year-old from just south of Cologne: he has been blind since the age of 13.

Watch: Chicharito's top five goals of 2016/17

He did not see any of Leno's save, but he still knew everything about them; Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez's heroics were depicted only in words, but Stoll is able to catch the gist. "When I'm in the stadium, I always have this film running within me," Stoll said. "It's like a film from the 70s or 80s; a film from the time when I could still see."

Born in Cologne, Stoll followed Fortuna Cologne up and down the country as he caught the football bug at a young age. After losing his sight, he switched his allegiance upon learning of Leverkusen's innovative provision of live reporting for blind supporters inside the stadium in the 1999/2000 season.

To this day, Stoll has not only benefitted from the service, but he has also played an active role in improving it for fellow fans. Since 1999, he has belonged to a nationwide association that has ensured that almost every Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 club now offer a similar service.

No matter what obstacles were thrown his way, what with trains delayed due to problems with power lines or animals on the line, Stoll still did not miss a second of the action in the stadium, even if the trip to Leipzig on Matchday 28 almost ruined everything just six games from the end of his remarkable adventure.

A delay meant he made his connection by miracle, getting the last train to Leipzig in time for kick-off, and confirming to him that – this year – it was going to happen.

ALL NEW: Can you recognise these Bundesliga venues? Take part in our quiz below!

Click here for more Leverkusen news!