With a third of the 2015/16 season done and dusted, bundesliga.com is checking in with all 18 clubs to see where they are at after 12 matches.
Despite a number of high-profile summer arrivals, Bayer 04 Leverkusen have so far flattered to deceive...
The story so far
After a number of high-profile arrivals and a fourth-placed finish last term, expectations were high at the BayArena. It has hitherto been tough going for Leverkusen this time out, however. The last time the club suffered five defeats in their opening 12 league games was the 2006/07 season, while qualification from UEFA Champions League Group E is also hanging by a thread after a 3-2 defeat away to AS Roma on Matchday 4.
That performance served as a neat microcosm of Die Werkself's season so far: the side were impressive going forward and showed plenty of fighting spirit, but familiar defensive shortcomings returned to haunt Roger Schmidt's men. With Jonathan Tah and Kyriakos Papadopoulos still bedding in at the heart of the defence, there has been a vulnerability from set-pieces, as 16 goals conceded in the league testifies. Moreover, even in spite of that fighting spirit, Leverkusen have often struggled come bigger games: Schmidt's charges have suffered chastening defeats in Munich, Dortmund and Wolfsburg already. Those losses, combined with some poor displays on home turf (losing to SV Darmstadt 98 and drawing with FC Augsburg) have left a feeling of 'must-do-better'.
- Leverkusen have struck the woodwork ten times already this season - a league-high.
- Die Werkself have also netted twice from free-kicks, another league best-mark.
- Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez has fired in one shot every 26 minutes.
- His side have sent in the fourth-most shots in the league (185).
While he could also have been considered in the 'best newcomer' category, Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez's start to life at the BayArena has underlined just why the club were so keen to sign him. The Mexican has scored seven goals in the last six games alone (three in the Bundesliga, two apiece in the UEFA Champions League and DFB Cup), and with four overall in the top flight already, he is Leverkusen's top scorer. The 27-year-old's pace, clever movement and predatory instinct have been on show on a regular basis, with his link-up play with fellow forwards, Admir Mehmedi and Hakan Calhanoglu in particular, already causing opposition defences problems. With three of his five clear-cut chances missed, however, there also remains scope for improvement - a frightening thought for the rest of the Bundesliga.
Most memorable quote
"When you win, you can put up with that sort of game."
Sporting director Rudi Völler after Leverkusen's 4-3 comeback win over VfB Stuttgart on Matchday 10.
While a number of Leverkusen's summer arrivals have caught the eye, including Kevin Kampl and Christoph Kramer, it is Admir Mehmedi who has hitherto been the second-most impressive newcomer behind Chicharito. The Switzerland international, who joined from relegated SC Freiburg, has demonstrated his cool head in front of goal on numerous occasions: netting against SS Lazio in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, against their city rivals AS Roma in the group stage and a late winner against Stuttgart on Matchday 10. Indeed, no Bayer player has had more direct involvement in goals this season than the versatile forward.
Click here for an overview of Leverkusen's ups and downs so far this campaign.