Playing in a big tournament in your own country – Wolfgang Rolff realised that childhood dream in 1988. The midfielder joined Leverkusen from Hamburg SV two years earlier and he went into his second Euros full of confidence after winning the UEFA Cup. Rolff was on the subs bench in the opening draw against Italy (1-1) but he went the full distance in the following 2-0 wins against Denmark and Spain. The Bayer 04 player was also on the pitch for 90 minutes in the 2-1 defeat in the semi-final against eventual European Champions the Netherlands. Rolff moved on to French club Strasbourg a year after his last Euros and UEFA Cup triumph with the Werkself.
Germany in Sweden – and two Werkself players on board. Christian Wörns, signed from Waldhof Mannheim the year before, did not play under Germany coach Berti Vogts. With the second Leverkusen player in the Germany squad, Andreas Thom, it looked like he would suffer the same fate. Up to the final in Gothenburg, the future Bayer 04 head coach Vogts did not make use of the Black and Red players. But when Germany were 2-0 down against Denmark, striker Thom was given his first Euros appearance. But he was unable to influence the final result. Germany failed to secure their third European Championship title.
The Werkself were well represented in the first tournament in the new century. Germany coach Erich Ribbek, previously a long-standing Bayer 04 head coach, called up five Leverkusen players to his Euros squad – a Black and Red record at a big tournament. Jens Nowotny and Paulo Rink were in the starting eleven for the 1-1 draw in the opening game against Romania and the Germany squad also included Michael Ballack, Ulf Kirsten and Carsten Ramelow. With the exception of the latter, all the Leverkusen players featured in the three group matches. The titleholders went out at the group stage. After the early exit, Rudi Völler took over from Ribbek as the Germany coach.
After finishing runners-up in the 2002 World Cup that unleashed great euphoria and expectation in Germany, the 2004 European Championship could hardly have been more disappointing for the team under then Germany coach Rudi Völler, today's sporting managing director at Bayer 04. The Werkself players Jens Nowotny and Bernd Schneider were in the Euros squad in Portugal. In spite of plenty of time on the pitch, both 'Jenne' and 'Schnix' were unable to make any real impression and Germany went out of the competition in Group D. Two draws against the Netherlands (1-1) and Latvia (0-0) plus a 2-1 defeat against the Czech Republic brought third place and an exit at the group stage.
While the former Bayer 04 keeper René Adler was on the subs bench at the European Championship in Austria and Switzerland as a backup for first choice goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, Simon Rolfes did play in the tournament. The current Bayer 04 sporting director replaced the injured Torsten Frings in midfield in the turbulent quarter-final and semi-final matches against Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo (3-2) and Turkey (also 3-2) and thereby played a big part in the Löw team progressing to the final. When Fernando Torres netted the winner in the 1-0 defeat in the final against Spain, the first Euro title since 1996 slipped away again in 2008.
The Germany team under coach Joachim Löw were in a good position after two games in 2012 at the Euros in Ukraine and Poland. The Löw team were top of Group B after two games with wins against Portugal (1-0) and the Netherlands (2-1). Today's Werkself honorary captain Lars Bender, whose twin brother Sven Bender only made it into the preliminary squad, played a crucial part in Germany achieving a perfect group stage with nine points from three games. In the third group match, the Germany coach played the Brannenburger for the full distance and that was repaid on 80 minutes with the 2-1 winner from a Mesut Özil assist. André Schürrle, also with the Werkself at the time, also featured in the match and he played 67 minutes in the quarter-final triumph against Greece (4-2) before being replaced by Thomas Müller. Two Mario Balotelli goals in the semi-final against Italy (1-2) again saw the dreams of a Euros triumph in Germany disappear as was also the case four years later in France.
The World Cup winners went into the 2016 European Championship in France as favourites. And 04 players from Leverkusen had been hoping to represent Germany in the neighbouring country. Bernd Leno, Karim Bellarabi and Julian Brandt were called up to the preliminary squad; Jonathan Tah was on standby. After the first stage of preparations, Germany coach Jogi Löw dropped Brandt and Bellarabi from the final squad but Jonathan Tah was happier shortly after that: As Antonio Rüdiger was injured in the first training session in France, the Werkself central defender was called up as a late replacement. Tah and Leno did not play in the Euro finals but did gather valuable experience at the tournament and helped with their performances in training to take the World Cup winners to the semi-finals where they were unlucky to lose to the hosts.
Bayer 04 welcomed 14 media representatives from Africa on Friday, 1 December. The trip for journalists from the likes of Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mozambique, Togo, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and Togo was organised by the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) with the goal of establishing and promoting Africa as a new target market for the Bundesliga.Show more
Bayer 04 has modernised its media working area in the stands at the BayArena and equipped it with new, multifunctional monitors. The 50 screens will be used for the first time for the fixture against Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 13 in the Bundesliga next Sunday, 3 December (kick-off: 17:30 CET) and offer the media representatives working at the BayArena on matchday numerous possibilities.Show more
Bayer 04 have little time to recover from their 2-0 win away at Häcken in the UEFA Europe League, ensuring progress to the round of 16, before their next challenge up against Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga on Sunday (17:30 CET). At his pre-match press conference on Friday morning, head coach Xabi Alonso spoke about BVB and gave a warning about not losing focus.Show more
Spirits are high at Borussia Dortmund following their impressive display and result away at AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. On Sunday (17:30 CET), they want to keep an impressive week going with another scalp in Leverkusen. Here’s the lowdown on our next opponents.Show more