September brings the 28th Champions League campaign – and Barcelona will feature for the 25th time. The reigning Spanish champions have the highest number of appearances in the Champions League. The Catalans only missed out in 1995/1996, 1996/1997 and 2003/2004.
This will be the twelfth time for Bayer 04 and that puts the Werkself level with European giants like Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain and ahead of famous clubs like Atletico Madrid (nine times) and Manchester City (eight times). Of all the German clubs, only Bayern Munich (ahead of their 23rd appearance) and Borussia Dortmund (14) have competed in Europe's elite club competition more often.
Iker Casillas has played in goal 177 times in the Champions League and thereby holds the record number of appearances. Possibly his best performance in this competition was against Bayer 04: In the 2002 final, the then 20-year-old keeper came on and prevented the Werkself equalising in the second half with several brilliant saves, thereby helping Real Madrid to lift the trophy. It remains to be seen whether he can add to the total. The now 38-year-old Casillas is recovering from a heart attack and his club FC Porto have to take part in the qualifying rounds to progress to the Champions League proper. However, the Spaniard will retain his record for at least another year: Even if second-placed Cristiano Ronaldo plays in all games with Juventus up to and including the final then he would 'only' have made 175 appearances.
Just like Casillas, the Werkself player with the record number of parents was also in the 2002 final where he led Bayer 04 onto the pitch as captain. Carsten Ramelow heads the ranking in the club with 49 appearances for Leverkusen in the Champions League between 1997 and 2005. He is closely followed by Bernd Schneider (46). Of the current squad, the skipper Lars Bender (26) has made the most appearances.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were head-to-head at the top of this category for a long time but now the Portuguese has a slight lead. With 126 goals, Ronaldo is a top goalscorer in the Champions League with Messi in second place with 112 goals. There is a considerable gap to the Real legend Raúl (72) in third place.
The top Bayer 04 goalscorer in the Champions League is shared by two players: Michael Ballack and Ulf Kirsten have each found the back of the net nine times, followed by Oliver Neuville (eight goals) and Dimitar Berbatov (seven). Of the Bayer 04 squad for next season's competition, as it stands, three players have scored for the Werkself in the Champions League: Lars Bender (2011 against Genk) and Kevin Volland (2016 in Moscow) have each scored once, Karim Bellarabi twice (2012 at Barcelona and 2017 against Atletico Madrid).
Two teams share top spot in this ranking: Liverpool beat Besiktas 8-0 in November 2010 with Andrej Voronin and Sami Hyypiä in their line-up. Real Madrid achieved the same scoreline against the Swedish club Malmö in December 2015 with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick.
Bayer 04 experienced a night of top European football on 23 October 2013. The Werkself beat Shakhtar Donetsk from Ukraine 4-0 – up to now the club's biggest win in the Champions League. Stefan Kießling opened the scoring in the first half with a header, Simon Rolfes netted from the penalty spot and Sidney Sam made it three in the second half. And the scoring was rounded off with a second goal on the night for Kießling.
Even now, the Camp Nou in Barcelona regularly tops the attendances in the Champions League. The 100,000 capacity of the current stadium does not compare with the quarter-final first leg in 1994/95. 115,000 spectators saw Barcelona draw 1-1 with Paris Saint-Germain following the extension to the lower tier over the previous summer. After 90 years the safety regulations issued by UEFA reduced the capacity to the current level.
The biggest crowd at a Bayer 04 tie was again on a magical night of European football for the Werkself. On 2 November 2016, 85,512 spectators were at the legendary Wembley Stadium to see a 1-0 away win for an impressive Werkself side against this year's finalists Tottenham Hotspur. Kevin Kampl scored the only goal of the game before running to celebrate with the Leverkusen supporters. Images that no Werkself supporter will forget in a hurry – and images that we might see again next season.
The Werkself are looking to seal winning the group against Häcken on matchday five in the UEFA Europa League. Ahead of the game against the Swedish Cup winners on Thursday 30 November (kick-off: 21.00 CET), head coach Xabi Alonso talked about clear aims as well as the busy fixture list up to the winter break – and he recalled a special trip to Gothenburg, tomorrow's venue, as a teenager. Nathan Tella also fielded questions from the journalists on Wednesday night where he spoke about the importance of the Europa League to the club and himself.Show more
Bayer 04 Leverkusen have given U17 player Francis Onyeka a long-term contact. The club has agreed a deal with the 16-year-old to 30 June 2027.Show more
#B04eSports team suffered the first defeat of the season on matchday five in the VBL Club Championship 2023/24. Last night’s other games ended in a win and a draw. The Black and Reds are now fifth in the North West division.Show more
Bayer 04 Leverkusen back continuity at the top of the club. The Bundesliga and Europa League participants have extended the contract with sporting managing director Simon Rolfes to 2028. The former midfielder and long-standing Werkself captain took over this position as the successor to Rudi Völler in the summer of 2022. He was previously the sporting director at Bayer 04 for three and a half years.Show more
The fans have decided: The goal scored by Florian Wirtz to make it 1-0 for Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the 2-1 home win against SC Freiburg was voted Goal of the Month for October with 45 % of the votes cast. The 20-year-old Werkself player won the vote conducted by ARD-Sportschau by a clear margin ahead of second-placed Harry Kane (Bayern Munich).Show more