Cologne - The Bundesliga and, more specifically, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, have a new star straight out of the international top drawer in their ranks, in the form of Javier Hernandez.
Schmidt’s ideal frontman
More familiar to followers of the world game as Chicharito (‘Little Pea’) – the nickname he wears on his shirt – the 27-year-old Mexican forward joined the Werkself from Manchester United on the final day of the summer transfer window, signing up on a contract valid through to June 2018.
The decision to join Bayer “wasn’t a difficult one,” Hernandez said at his official unveiling; “Right from the start, the management made it clear they really wanted me, and I would be an important part of the team.” That in itself is no small matter for a player who spent last season farmed out to Real Madrid CF where, as over much of the latter part of his initial four years at Old Trafford, he had been unable to pin down a regular starting berth. “I’d like to feel important again, and happy,” he stressed.
At Leverkusen, he will be given every opportunity to feel both. In Hernandez, the UEFA Champions League contenders have acquired a forward who “really gets stuck in for the team, works the channels well, drops deep and knows his way around the penalty box,” said Roger Schmidt; In short, “He’ll make us harder to defend against.” That versatility is particularly appealing to the head coach, who now has a second top-level central striker to ease the burden on the ever-reliable Stefan Kießling.