Merely testing the Bayer Leverkusen temperature following his first steps in the Bundesliga in 2017, Jamaican sensation Leon Baily has been in searing form since hitting his explosive stride this season.
bundesliga.com casts an eye over the Kingston native’s nine fine months of 2017/18, in which the 20-year-old acquired global recognition with a collection of dazzling displays.
Season in a nutshell
After his eight appearances as a substitute last term designed to help Bailey adapt to life in the Bundesliga following his winter move from KRC Genk last term, the prolific attacker has realised his fabulous potential in Leverkusen’s attractive, attacking side this season.
Given Bailey ‘s formidable efforts on the training ground, coach Heiko Herrlich had plenty of reason to believe his wing wizard would produce the goods if given a chance to shine. And so it proved. A first start against Hamburg last September saw the trickster provide two goal assists in a 3-0 victory for the Werkself.
Watch: Does Bailey make your Bundesliga Team of the Season?
That result sparked a 14-match unbeaten sequence in all competitions for B04, and Bailey was beginning to boil. In his very next game he scored his first Bundesliga goal against Schalke, while soon afterward, the winger who loves to cut inside netted in consecutive matches as his side hit lift-off.
Frightening acceleration combined with skills, tricks and flicks: Bailey appeared to have every attribute required to bring fans to their feet. And he had Bayer supporters leaping in delight when he scored a stunning back-heeled goal against Hoffenheim on Matchday 19 and immediately followed that with a thunderbolt against Mainz.
He might not be as lightening quick as compatriot and friend Usain Bolt, but with a top speed of 21.4 miles per hour, Bailey has been the scourge of opposing defenders.
His nine goals in the campaign to date are complemented by six assists, the player’s trademark move of sprinting to the touchline before cutting the ball back reaping rewards for appreciative teammates.
Watch: A tactical look at Leon Bailey.
What they're saying...
“He's got extraordinary pace; he's very skilful with the ball,” Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Völler said of the winger who can play on either flank.
“Our aim is to reach the UEFA Champions League with him and build from there. If he can continue to develop here why couldn’t he get to the sort of category [Ousmane] Dembele is in?" Leverkusen’s squad manager Jonas Boldt sings Bailey's praises in an interview with German publication Kicker.
Watch: Bailey's beauty from distance against Mainz! (from 0:50)
Leverkusen spent much of the season in the top four, a place both they and Bailey will look to re-establish come the end of the season. With 12 goals in 32 games in all competitions so far this term, Bayer’s slick speedster has set himself a top target to beat in 2018/19. With his burning ambition, the Bundesliga and Europe are braced for the best of Bailey in the coming campaign.