BayArena instead of Ulrich Haberland Stadium

 Getting to know a new name is sometimes difficult. The home venue for Bayer footballers was the Ulrich Haberland Stadium for 40 years. At the start of the new season, fans now go into the BayArena that has now become a multifunctional arena. The renaming has been done to do justice to the completely changed character of the ground as explained by Juergen von Einem, the then head of sport at Bayer AG.


© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

Ze Roberto arrives


Bayer 04 secured another big coup on the transfer market: The club signed the Brazil international Zé Roberto. The great technician and dribbler on the left side of midfield joined from Flamengo Rio de Janeiro.


Wolfgang Holzhäuser moves from DFB to Bayer 04


The club management was also strengthened with the addition of a prominent new signing: Wolfgang Holzhauser joined Bayer 04 Leverkusen from the German Football Association (DFB) where he worked as the League Secretary. Here he takes up the position of commercial manager. Reiner Calmund remains the manager for the sporting area. Ilja Kaenzig is brought in as manager assistant.

 Bayer quartet in national team

 For the first time Bayer 04 provide for players for the Germany squad. Ulf Kirsten, Stefan Beinlich, Paulo Rink and Jens Nowotny are called up by Germany coach Berti Vogts for the internationals against Malta and Romania.

 Bayer storm the Bökelberg

 30 October: Bayer 04 secure a first away win at the previously impregnable Bökelberg at the 20th attempt. And what a win it was! An 8-2 goal fest that was the biggest Bundesliga win for Leverkusen up to then. At half-time Bayer were leading 4-0 thanks to three goals from Ulf Kirsten and one from Zé Roberto. The other goals for Bayer came from Thomas Reichenberger (two), Jens Nowotny and Nico Kovac. And Borussia Mönchengladbach were on a hiding to nothing at Leverkusen. Bayer 04 secured a clear 4-1 victory in this match. And again Ulf Kirsten found the back of the net three times. The Schwatte is becoming a bogeyman for Borussia fans.

 Early exit from Europe

 Bayer 04 beat Udinese in the first round of the UEFA Cup. In the second round Glasgow Rangers win out 3-2 on aggregate.

 Crowd trouble at the BayArena

 30 January 1999: There is serious crowd trouble at the friendly between Bayer 04 and Feyenoord. Dutch hooligans through cobbles, vandalised cars, set a booth on fire and caused damage valued at €250,000. Three police officers and to Bayer 04 stewards were slightly injured. Around 500 police officers, including a special unit flown in by helicopter, were in action until the early hours of the morning identifying and recording a total of 1,100 Dutch 'fans'.

 Formation of Fußball GmbH

 It is official on 1 April 1999: As the first football club, Bayer 04 Leverkusen separated the professional football section from the overall club TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen to form Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fußball GmbH. The commercial register now states: "The purpose of the company is the continuation of the operation of the professional football section previously maintained by the Turn und Sportverein Bayer 04 Leverkusen e.V. And the first amateur football team, the A1 Youth and B1 Youth..." "The economic development the Bundesliga is so rapid that the legal structure of a registered club can no longer be maintained," said club president Professor Rudolf Casper in explaining the move.

 League runners-up for the second time – UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time

 After a mixed start in the Bundesliga, Bayer kept improving. However, Bayern Munich are in a class of their own this season. The record champions raced away from the start and ended winning the title with a 15 point advantage. Bayer 04 are runners-up for the second time and thereby qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time.

 Rüdiger Vollborn’s last game

 The 0-0 draw at Bochum on matchday 32 secured second place for the team with two matches to play. On the last day of the season the champions Bayern Munich visited the BayArena and won the match 2-1. Bayer goalkeeping legend Rüdiger Vollborn replaces Adam Mattsek on 80 minutes to make his 401st and last appearance between the sticks for Bayer 04. A fitting backdrop for the farewell to a great goalkeeper. Rudi stays in the squad for a season and from 2000/01 he becomes the goalkeeping coach at Bayer 04.





Jan Heintze, Erik Meijer and Niko Kovac wear the Bayer shirt for the last time.

Ulf Kirsten scores his 19th goal of the season against Bayern Munich to finish second in the top goalscorer's list behind Hertha Berlin's Michael Preetz (22).

 Official opening of the Lindner Hotel BayArena

 The Lindner Hotel BayArena opens its doors on four June after a 12-month construction period for the European Championship qualification game between Germany and Moldova (6-1). The then DFB president Egidius Braun and DFB vice-president Franz Beckenbauer enter their names in the guest book.