Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez may have grabbed most of the headlines at Bayer 04 Leverkusen recently, but the man himself has been quick to highlight the assistance from his new team-mates as he has hit the richest vein of form of his European career.
The 27-year-old only arrived in August, but a healthy working environment at the BayArena and a close bond with his new team-mates has allowed him to integrate quickly and with sensational results. He scored his 21st goal in his last 18 matches in midweek and became the first Mexican to score a Bundesliga hat-trick on Matchday 16.
‘It's easy to communicate’
“Although I don’t speak much German, the climate is very good and it’s easy to communicate,” said the striker, who has nine goals in his last seven ahead of this weekend’s game at FC Ingolstadt 04. “Everyone has really helped me both on and off the pitch and it’s easy to play with them because they have so much quality.”
Leverkusen suffered disappointment in Europe last week when they were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League, but they have UEFA Europa League football to look forward to in the New Year, and Chicharito is optimistic that their young and hungry squad can achieve great things under coach Roger Schmidt.
“We’ve got a young team with players who are all highly motivated to develop,” said the former Manchester United striker, whose side take on Sporting CP in the last 32 “They all give their all for the club. Not for themselves, not for me but for the club.”
Praise from Ferdinand
Despite appearing to downplay his own contribution, Chicharito’s goals have gained him universal praise, not least from former team-mates such as ex-England captain Rio Ferdinand, who tweeted: “I told you all Javier Hernandez would score if given [a] run of games!"
Indeed, after being used sparingly on loan at Real Madrid CF in 2014/15 and making just a handful of appearances in his final years in Manchester, the Guadalajara native is now one of the first names on the Bayer team sheet, having started the club’s last 16 matches.