After an impressive campaign last season, it’s fair to say that Bayer Leverkusen look as though they’re still in pre-season. For the first time in their Bundesliga history, they’ve lost their opening three league fixtures which sees them rooted to the table.
Granted, they’ve had a tough start to the season with Borussia Monchengladbach, VfL Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich but many of them had predicted Heiko Herrlich’s side to be up there with the reigning champions this season.
They’ve recruited well while holding onto key players such as Kai Havertz, Julian Brandt and Leon Bailey. The latter two signed contract extensions over the summer period but neither have yet to recreate last season’s form.
With a tough away trip to Ludogorets in the Europa League followed by games against Mainz, Fortuna Dusseldorf and Borussia Dortmund, pressure will be on Herrlich to start picking up points. If not, the 46-year-old could find himself out of a job sooner rather than later, which is a huge shame given his coaching last season.
In just three league games, Bayer Leverkusen have found the net on just two occasions with their goal against Bayern Munich coming from the spot. With their attacking talent on show, going forward shouldn’t be a problem for Herrlich’s side but while they’re creating chances, Lucas Alario and Kevin Volland have yet to find their scoring boots.
Julian Baumgartlinger is also a huge loss for Bayer Leverkusen with the Austria international instrumental in breaking up attacks in front of the back three/four. Add to the fact that captain Lars Bender is only just returning to fitness while Sven Bender and Jonathan Tah are yet to replicate their understanding from last season.
There’s no doubting that Herrlich will be frustrated with his side’s performances but he knows the potential they have, we all do. A few minor changes and Bayer Leverkusen could well find themselves climbing the table – all they need is to keep working hard and for a little bit of luck to go their way.
Bayer Leverkusen’s aren’t the only pointless team
Finishing runners-up to Bayern Munich last season, albeit 21 points behind the Bundesliga champions, Schalke also find themselves pointless while they have a better goal difference than Bayer Leverkusen.
Defeats against VfL Wolfsburg, Hertha BSC and Borussia Monchengladbach, Schalke have played two of the teams that also beat Bayer Leverkusen. The trio have all won two and drawn one game while early signs suggest that teams from last season have certainly strengthened in the transfer window.
Although you can argue that Schalke have also strengthened, Domenico Tedesco has lost both Leon Goretzka and Max Meyer. The duo was integral to Tedesco’s plans last season while Sebastian Rudy is taking time to settle in to life in Gelsenkirchen and Nabil Bentaleb is looking to find his form – something he lost midway through last season.
The loss of Thilo Kehrer is huge but with Matija Nastasić returning from injury and the signing of Hannover 96 defender Salif Sane, Schalke have arguably strengthened in central defence, although we’re yet to see that improvement on the pitch.
Tedesco has remained with a three-man defence with Daniel Caligiuri and Hamza Mendyl operating as wing-backs. The only problem here for Tedesco is that both like to attack, which has been evident given the amount of opportunities Schalke concede from wide areas.
Schalke’s pressing system last season was second-to-none while they’ve yet to replicate this campaign. This is likely to be down to the number of new faces on the pitch for the Royal Blues but at the minute, it’s causing them more problems than it’s worth.
Hosting Porto in the Champions League followed by a game against reigning champions Bayern Munich won’t be easy but if Tedesco is able to turn things around quickly, he may just be able to give Bayern some problems given their injury crisis at the minute.
So after just three Bundesliga Matchdays, not many could have predicted that both Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke would be pointless, both of whom enjoyed a good campaign last season, finishing in Europe.
While many may complain that Bayern Munich will once again walk the league, the fact that teams such as Wolfsburg and Hertha BSC have gone toe-to-toe with Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke just goes to show how competitive this league can be. But now you feel it can only be Borussia Dortmund that are able to dethrone the champions – something we’ll closely monitor this season.
Do you have what it takes to challenge the best Fantasy Football Managers? If you’re up to challenging the best then play www.fantasybundes.com now!