The 2015/16 Bundesliga season is now at the halfway stage, providing the ideal time to take stock of each club's progress so far. Here, bundesliga.com puts Bayer 04 Leverkusen under the microscope.
The story so far
Leverkusen struggled for consistency in the early part of the season and suffered chastening defeats at Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern München, but in recent weeks there has been a feel-good factor at the club, personified to a large extent by their new Mexican superstar Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez.
Signed on transfer deadline day from Manchester United FC, the 27-year-old overcame a slow start to explode into the richest vein of form of his career in Europe to date, recently becoming the first Mexican to score a Bundesliga hat-trick, as Die Werkself recorded an important 5-0 win over fellow UEFA Champions League aspirants Borussia Mönchengladbach.
- Leverkusen have put in a league-high 4011 challenges.
- Only Hertha Berlin need fewer shots per goal (3.5) than Leverkusen (4.6).
- Bayer have been hit on the counter following an attempt on goal fewer times than any other team (nine).
His quality as a goalscorer was never in doubt, but 'Chicharito' had been used sparingly in his final seasons at Manchester United and restricted to fewer appearances than he would have liked on loan at Real Madrid CF in 2014/15.
At Leverkusen, however, coach Roger Schmidt has built the team around him, and with pace and trickery on either side, the Guadalajara native has been in his element in the Rhineland, reaching double figures for goals in the league in just 13 appearances.
Off the pitch he has also won the club a legion of fans in Latin America - including a Twitter follower count that numbers close to six million - giving the club's global appeal a nigh on immeasurable boost. Chicharito's signing has been a veritable triumph for the club on a number of levels.
Remind yourself of Leverkusen's placing in the standings during the season with our interactive league table. Simply click on the + symbol at the end of each row in the standings for a comprehensive statistical overview.
Sit back and enjoy Leverkusen's dismantling of Gladbach on Matchday 16 in the video below.