"The trip to St Louis is another milestone on the way to helping Bayer 04 gain greater attention globally. We are proud to be part of this historical event and being able to inaugurate the CITYPARK Stadium with this friendly," said Bayer 04 CEO Fernando Carro. "Football has a long tradition in St Louis and the enthusiasm the new club has attracted ahead of the first season is impressive."
Similar to the #Bayer04MexicoTour in the spring, Bayer AG will also be present on the #Bayer04USATour as a partner of Bayer 04. St Louis has been the North American headquarters of the Bayer agricultural chemical division since 2018 with a work force of around 8000. As part of the ‘Bayer 04 USA Tour’, staff events and participation in community projects and cultural activities are planned. Carro: "The collaboration between Bayer AG and Bayer 04 on the international stage is one of the cornerstones for this and future projects of this type. Above all in St Louis, we see promising potential for the future in the coming together of the two clubs."
For St. Louis CITY Soccer Club, with German sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel, the event represents a milestone in its development. There is huge anticipation at CITY SC ahead of joining the American Major League Soccer (MLS) in February 2023. The club squad has several familiar faces from German professional football including Roman Bürki. In addition to the long-standing goalkeeper at Borussia Dortmund, there are former Bundesliga players at St Louis in the shape of Joakim Nilsson (Arminia Bielefeld), Eduard Löwen (VfL Bochum) and Joao Klauss (TSG Hoffenheim).
"This match will not only be great for St. Louis, it will be a great test for our team and an amazing opportunity to step foot onto the field at CITYPARK for the first time," said Pfannenstiel who was appointed sporting director at CITY SC in the summer of 2020. The 49-year-old German, who played in goal in a number of professional leagues across the globe, was previously head scout and then sporting director at Fortuna Düsseldorf. Pfannenstiel: "The match against a well-known club that regularly takes part in European competitions like Bayer 04 is a big thing for us. And I'm sure the match will enthuse St Louis and the fans."
Bayer 04 sporting managing director Simon Rolfes stressed the importance of the USA tour: "This trip including the match against St Louis will be another unique experience for our team – both on and off the pitch. The time together and the new experience will help us to grow together as a team."
This will be the second tour in America for Bayer 04 and 2022. Immediately after the end of the 2021/22 season at the end of May, Leverkusen spent a week in Mexico City to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Bayer Mexico with the high point being a sell-out clash against the top-flight Mexican club Toluca FC.
Bayer 04 have a long and successful history with players from North, Central and South America. The Brazilian Tita was the first to come over the ‘big pond’ in 1987 and a year later he went on to win the UEFA Cup with Leverkusen. Since then, 40 players from the two continents have moved under the Bayer Cross. That includes six players from the United States: David Yelldell, Jermaine Jones, Landon Donovan, Frankie Hejduk, Thomas Dooley and Claudio Reyna.
St. Louis CITY SC:
St. Louis CITY Soccer Club was founded in 2019 as the 28th expansion team of the Major League Soccer (MLS) and will be in the MLS for the first time in 2023. The club belongs to one of the few shareholder groups in professional sport with a female majority. The shareholder group based in St Louis unveiled the badge, logo and branding of the club in 2020. The brand-new stadium has a capacity of 22,500. It is part of a stadium quarter that includes the training ground and team headquarters. The whole site is in the campus in the Downtown West district of St Louis giving fans an all-round experience as well as promoting the continuing growth and regeneration of St Louis.
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