Lots on new and some familiar faces
Returnees include World Cup winner Christoph Kramer (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Konstantinos Stafylidis (Fulham but loaned out in the pre-season to FC Augsburg) and Seung-Woo Ryu (Eintracht Braunschweig). Kyriakos Papadopoulos is signed permanently by Schalke 04 but did play for the Werkself last season. Newcomers are: Admir Mehmedi (SC Freiburg), Andre Ramalho (RB Salzburg), Jonathan Tah (Hamburg SV) and Charles Aranguiz, Chile international from Internacional Porto Alegre. Lars Boeder, Robin Tim Becker, Marlin Frey and Benjamin Henrichs move up to the first team squad
The BayArena has really smartened itself up
Leverkusen's stadium has a new look and presents itself as more fan friendly, service-oriented and more modern than ever before. Most noticeable are the changes on the concourses. Modernised kiosks, toilets, E payment counters, better signage, a fully redesigned Bayer 04 shop and, of course, the Werkself heroes in street art on the walls ensure a completely new BayArena feeling.
Regulation win at Lotte
The season opened with the DFB Cup and Bayer 04 secured a 3-0 victory at Regional League side Sportfreunde Lotte with goals from Stefan Kießling, Hakan Calhanoglu and Lars Bender.
Lazio in the Champions League
A convincing 3-0 win against Lazio in the second play-off match takes Bayer 04 to the group stage of the Champions League for the 10th time in the club's history and for the third time in succession. After the 1-0 defeat in the first leg, the Werkself produced a gala display at home at the BayArena leaving Lazio with no chance. Hakan Calhanoglu, Admir Mehmedi and Karim Bellarabi scored the goals for the hosts.
26 August 2015: The first step is taken – Hakan Calhanoglu opens the scoring against Lazio on 39 minutes.
The South Korean Heung-Min Son leaves Bayer 04 just before the end of the transfer window to join Tottenham Hotspur. In turn, Leverkusen sign Kevin Kampl – the midfielder brought through the ranks at Bayer 04 comes from Borussia Dortmund – and the Mexico international Javier Chicharito Hernandez.
Bumpy start in the league
After two wins in the first two games against Hoffenheim (2-1) and away to Hannover 96 (1-0), Bayer 04 lose three Bundesliga games on the bounce – including 3-0 defeats in Munich and Dortmund – and after the fifth match are in 13th position.
In the group stage of the Champions League Bayer 04 face holders Barcelona, AS Roma and BATE Borisov. Roger Schmidt's team clock up a convincing 4-1 win in the opening game against Borisov. The Werkself produced an impressive performance in the narrow 2-1 defeat at the Camp Nou. Barcelona were only able to turn round the deficit from the goal scored by Kyriakos Papadopoulos into a win in the closing stages. The spectators at the BayArena then witnessed mad roller coaster of a game in the 4-4 draw with AS Roma. Bayer 04 took and early 2-0 lead but Roma hit back and by the 84th minute they were leading 4-2. However, they had to be happy with a point in the end as Kevin Kampl and Admir Mehmedi scored for the Werkself to level at 4-4. Crazy!
Bayer 04 jumped the next two hurdles in the DFB Cup before the winter break. A 6-0 win at Viktoria Köln was followed by an equally secure 3-1 victory against SpVgg Unterhaching. That puts the Werkself through to the quarter-finals.
Two final wins at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach (5-0) and at FC Ingolstadt (1-0) see Bayer 04 climate the table just before Christmas to fifth place and keeps the Werkself in touch with the Champions League spots.
Exit in the Champions League
Competing in the tough group with Barcelona, AS Roma and BATE Borisov, the Werkself end up third in the group. A 1-1 draw with Barcelona is not enough to reach the Round of 16. Kießling, Leno and Co. carry on in the Europa League.
Cup exit against Werder
Bayer 04 lose against Werder Bremen in the DFB Cup quarter-finals in spite of leading 1-0. Werder win 3-1 in the end against ten men as Wendell is shown a red card on 40 minutes.
Playing catch up in Augsburg
For the first time in the Bundesliga, Bayer 04 get a result after being three goals down. Karim Bellarabi, an own goal and Hakan Calhanoglu from the penalty spot in the last minute complete this little 'miracle'.
End of the road at Villarreal
After two wins in the Europa League Round of 32 against sporting Lisbon (1-0, 3-1), Bayer 04 go out in the Round of 16. The Werkself lose 2-0 at Villarreal and the return leg ends in a goalless draw.
Impressive run in the league
The Werkself finished the season with a frenetic late run producing seven wins on the bounce including five without conceding. The 2-1 win against Hertha Berlin on the third last matchday secures third place. That means Bayer 04 have achieved direct qualification for the champions league group stage – for the fifth time in the last six years.
30 April 2016: Lars Bender scores the opener against Hertha Berlin.
At the 3-2 win on the last matchday against FC Ingolstadt the opportunity is taken to say goodbye to Dario Kresic, David Yelldell, Sebastian Boenisch and stadium announcer Klaus Schenkmann.