Nine new signings
Hakan Calhanoglu, the Turkey international, joins from Hamburg SV and counts is one of the most prominent new signings. Starting at the Werkself alongside him are also Josip Drmic (FC Nürnberg), the Brazilian Wendell (Gremio Porto Alegre), Tin Jedvaj (AS Roma), Karim Bellarabi (was on loan at Eintracht Braunschweig), Dario Kresic (Mainz 05), Kyriakos Papadopoulos (on loan from Schalke 04), Vladlen Yurchenko (Shakhtar Donetsk) and Maximilian Wagener From the Bayer 04 youth section. Andres Palop (retired), Emre Can (Liverpool), Sidney Sam (Schalke 04), Jens Hegeler (Hertha Berlin), Eren Derdiyok (Kasimpasa SK Istanbul), Andres Guardado (Valencia), Konstantinos Stafylidis (Fulham) and Jonas Meffert (on loan at Karlsruher SC).
Head coach Roger Schmidt
There are also changes on the touchline. Roger Schmidt joins the club from RB Salzburg and takes over the post of head coach. Schmidt brings his assistant coach Oliver Bartlett with him from Salzburg.
Record goal in first game
7,000 the Bayer 04 fans cheer on their Werkself after the thrilling 2-0 triumph at Dortmund. Karim Bellarabi goes into the record books with the fastest ever goal in the Bundesliga: Just nine seconds after the kick-off ball was in the back of the Dortmund net after his low drive.
Through to the Champions League group stage
A 3-2 win in the play-off first leg in Copenhagen puts Bayer 04 on the way the group stage of the champions league. The return leg at the BayArena sees the Werkself beat FC Copenhagen 4-0 to seal qualification for the group stage – for the ninth time in the club's history.
Unlucky start in the Champions League
Bayer 04 have a large number of good to very good chances in the first game of the group stage in the Principality of Monaco but end up going home empty-handed. AS Monaco, with Dimitar Berbatov in the team, win the match 1-0 with a goal from Joao Moutinho. The Werkself then win three games in succession against Benfica (3-1) and Zenit St. Petersburg (2-0, 2-1).
The power football of the Schmidt brand provides Bayer 04 fans with several highlights in the first half of the season: for example with the 4-2 home win against Hertha Berlin, the crazy 3-3 draw with Werder Bremen where Tin Jedvaj score the opening goal was also the 2,000th Bundesliga goal for Bayer 04, and the 5-1 derby win against FC Köln. At the end of the first half of the season the Werkself were in third place.
Progress in the Champions League
Following the 1-0 home defeat to AS Monaco and the 0-0 draw in the final group match at Benfica, the Black and Reds qualify for the Round of 16 as runners-up.
Extra time in the DFB Cup
The Werkself had to play extra time both in the second round at fourth division FC Magdeburg as well as in the Round of 16 tie at home to FC Kaiserslautern. Bayer 04 beat Magdeburg on penalties thanks to the efforts of goalkeeper Bernd Leno. After the 90 minutes without a goal against FCK, goals from Hakan Calhanoglu (102') and Stefan Kießling (113') secured the win.
An incredible match
Games like the one on matchday 21 between Bayer 04 and VfL Wolfsburg happen once in a blue moon: The Werkself lose out 5-4 to the team in second place after 90 hectic minutes. Bayer 04 with 3-0 down at half-time before a double from Son put them back in the game. The Werkself did not even give up when they went 4-2 down. Goals from Son again and Bellarabi levelled the scores at 4-4 – before Dost, after Spahic was sent off for a second bookable offence, consigned Bayer 04 to defeat in added time.
End of the road against Atletico Madrid
What a thriller. And what a painful end complete with tears. Bayer 04 go out in the Round of 16 on penalties and due to their own nerves. Atletico's Mario Suarez, who's shot was deflected by Toprak into the net on 27 minutes, scored to put the Madrid team level from the deficit from the first leg. As there were no more goals in added time he came down to a penalty shootout. Calhanoglu, Toprak and Kießling all missed their penalties and it was of little help that Bernd Leno saved the spot kick from Koke and Rolfes and Castro converted their penalties.
Unlucky with penalties
As in the champions league against Atletico, the DFB Cup competition ended for the Werkself against Bayern Munich on penalties. Playing against the holders and record champions in the quarter-final, the Werkself were not just on equal terms but rather had the majority of chances in an exciting dual that proved exciting despite no goals being scored. In the penalty shootout, Manuel Neuer saved the penalty from Josip Drmic that decided the result in favour of the rather fortunate Bayern team.
Bernd Leno’s record
528 minutes without conceding a goal in the Bundesliga: Bayer 04 keeper Bernd Leno easily broke the old record held by Rüdiger Vollborn (485 minutes). At Mainz, the Werkself number one had to pick the ball out of the net in the 3-2 win for the first time in five games.
11 April 2015: After the game at Mainz ,(from left to right) Josip Drmic, Lars Bender, Bernd Leno, Tin Jedvaj and the captain Simon Rolfes thank the travelling fans.
Seven wins in succession happened once before in 2001/02 under Klaus Toppmöller. That club record with equalled with the 4-0 win against Hannover 96.
Rolfes and Reinartz depart
A 2-0 victory over Hoffenheim sees Bayer 04 win for the sixth time in succession at home without conceding. After their last home game Simon Rolfes and Stefan Reinartz complete a lap of honour and receive an emotional farewell from the fans.
Champions League qualification
The 2-1 defeat at Frankfurt on the last matchday did not affect much: Bayer 04 ended the season in fourth place to secure a slot in the Champions League play-offs.