All you need to know about UEFA Champions League regulars Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

Fun facts

  • Affiliated to pharmaceutical giants Bayer, the modern-day Bayer 04 Leverkusen can trace its history back to 1903, when 170 members of the chemical company's employees petitioned the directors to be allowed to participate in organised sporting activities.
  • The football club from Leverkusen, a small town just north of the much larger Cologne, has, in recent years, become synonymous with being runners-up: Bayer have come second in the Bundesliga on five separate occasions, twice missing out on the title on the last day, as well as being losing finalists twice in the DFB Cup and once in the UEFA Champions League.
  • The club's nickname, Die Werkself, translates as 'The Factory Workers' team', and, much like the cross on the team's badge, harks back to its Bayer roots.

Roger Schmidt's side soared up the standings during the second half of 2015/16 to finish third. © imago / Eibner


Sometimes nicknamed 'the eternal bridesmaids' on account of the frequency with which they have finished second, never more painfully so than ending the 2001/02 season as runners-up in the Bundesliga, the DFB Cup and the UEFA Champions League, Leverkusen have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with both at home and abroad in recent years. Indeed, 2016/17 will see them participate at Europe's top table for the fourth time in five seasons.

Mexico's Javier Hernandez scored 17 Bundesliga goals for Leverkusen in 2015/16. © gettyimages / Mika Volkmann

The signing of Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez from Manchester United FC proved a shrewd one in 2015/16, with the Mexico striker plundering 17 goals to help Bayer pull themselves from eighth to third over the last nine weeks of the season. Coach Roger Schmidt also has a fit-again Charles Aranguiz - fresh from his Copa America Centenario win with Chile - to plug into a swift counter-attacking formation that makes Bayer one of Germany's most exciting sides to watch.


DFB Cup winners: 1992/93

UEFA Cup winners: 1987/88

Stadium: BayArena

Capacity: 30,210