Four new faces in the team

 A Brazilian, a Swiss, a Moroccan and a German: internationalism is written large in the transfer policy at Bayer 04. Newcomers to the squad are Athirson, Tranquillo Barnetta, Simon Rolfes and Ahmed Madouni. Daniel Bierofka, Diego Placente and Robson Ponte have left.

 The start: A great win, a bitter setback

 This season started really well: On the first matchday Bayer 04 crushed Eintracht Frankfurt 4-1 on their own ground. A week later saw a 5-2 defeat to Bayern Munich at the BayArena.


© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

7 August 2005: Following the win at Frankfurt (left to right) Marko Babic, Gonzalo Castro, Juan, Athirson, Jörg Butt, Jacek Krzynowek, Dimitar Berbatov, Simon Rolfes

 Difficult times: Augenthaler leaves

 Nothing is going right at Bayer 04 either in the Bundesliga or the UEFA Cup. After four matchdays and a 1-0 home defeat against CSKA Sofia in the first round the management decided to act and parted company with coach Klaus Augenthaler. Rudi Völler took temporary control of the first team.


© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

Michael Skibbe arrives

The team recovers under Völler but is unable to avoid going out of the UEFA Cup. Bayer 04 lose 1-0 in Sofia. Michael Skibbe is appointed as the new coach in October.

A different spirit but the same results

"We've got lots of work to do," said Michael Skibbe after his debut at Bayer 04 that saw her less than happy start with a 3-1 defeat at Mainz. The coach was certainly right. The team showed improvement and were unlucky to lose several points in spite of good performances. The DFB Cup ended in the second round with a 3-2 defeat at Hamburg SV.

Unsatisfactory first half of the season

Above all, the last four matchdays before the winter break were disappointing. First came two home defeats in succession against HSV and Hertha Berlin and then just one point at FC Nürnberg and at home to Hannover 96. The first half of the season ended with Bayer 04 in a frustrating 12th place in the Bundesliga.

Intensive preparations in the south of Spain

Michael Skibbe used the training camp in Marbella to bring the squad closer together. The opening game in the second half of the season started with a 2-1 win against Eintracht Frankfurt.


Historic match at Schalke

An unlucky 1-0 defeat at Bayer Munich is followed by a great 4-0 win against Wolfsburg. Then came a crazy match at Schalke. Bayer 04 lost 7-4 to the Royal Blues. It was the sixth high-scoring game in the history of the Bundesliga where Bayer 04 came back several times despite being clearly behind. In the end there were too many individual mistakes.

Derby victory

Carnival in Cologne: FC Köln suffer heavy 3-0 defeat against Bayer 04. Voronin, Berbatov and Krzynowek score against a completely overwhelmed Köln side.


Bielefeld and Mainz

The key matches in the second half of the season. Bayer 04 lose both; 1-0 at Bielefeld on matchday 25 and 2-1 at home to Mainz on matchday 26. "After that, it's clear to every player that it can't go on like that," said Skibbe looking back.

Out of a crisis with a run

The team led by captain Carsten Ramelow drew the right conclusions from the messed up games and started an impressive run with a 2-0 victory at Stuttgart: Bayer 04 go on to win six games on the bounce.

Outstanding Dimitar Berbatov

The Bulgaria striker produced world-class form in the second half of the season. He scored 15 of his total of 21 goals on the season after the winter break and also provided seven assists.

© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

Great form to qualify for the UEFA Cup

 In the second half of the season Bayer 04 collected two more points than the champions Bayern Munich and clocked up the most number of wins in the league (10). If only the first half of the season had not been so poor then Bayer 04 would have been competing for the title. In the end that was good enough for fifth place. That qualified the team for the UEFA Cup and means that Bayer 04 have been in Europe for nine of the last ten years.