Welcome back, Heiko Herrlich!
His professional career begins in Leverkusen in 1989. He wins his first title, the DFB Cup, here in 1993. Further titles follow at Borussia Mönchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund, including the German league title, Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup. He then embarks on his coaching career. And that leads him back to Leverkusen in the summer of 2017. Heiko Herrlich, who took SSV Jahn Regensburg from the Regional League to the second division, signs a contract as new head coach at the Werkself.
Three new and two familiar faces
Sven Bender arrives from Borussia Dortmund and is the biggest new signing at the Werkself. For the first time since they were together at 1860 Munich and with Germany, twin brothers Lars and Sven are again playing in the same team. In contrast, Dominik Kohr, who came through the youth ranks at Bayer 04, returns to Leverkusen after three and a half years at FC Augsburg. Kai Havertz, who made his Bundesliga debut for the Werkself last season and is now in his first campaign as a professional, also started with the youth teams. The management are also active on the international stage in 2017. After Leon Bailey in January, the Greek defender Panos Retsos and Argentinian striker Lucas Alario strengthen the Werkself squad in the summer.
Revamp at the BayArena
With their high quality technical equipment, the versatile executive boxes in the South Stand are ideally suited to business meetings and events 365 days a year. And there have also been changes in the West Stand: The former Business Lounge is now known as the 19NULLVIER Lounge since the summer of 2017. As in the Business Lounge, the dominant colours are Black and Red.
With the relaunch of bayer04.de, the fans are even closer to the Werkself in the new season. Greater clarity, easier navigation and responsive design: Those are just a few of the significant conceptual aspects of the new Bayer 04 website.
The Werkself complete a training camp in Zell am See-Kaprun for the fifth time. During the one-week stay, the five-year old partnership with SalzburgerLand Tourismus GmbH is extended by another two years to 2019.
Cup win in extra time
In the first round of the DFB Cup, Bayer 04 have to travel to third division Karlsruher SC. The Werkself are clearly superior and create numerous good chances but need extra time to go through after a goalless first 90 minutes. Dominik Kohr (93'), Joel Pohjanpalo (99') and Leon Bailey (105') score for the team led by Heiko Herrlich.
Bumpy start to the Bundesliga
In the opening match of the 55th Bundesliga campaign, Bayer 04 produce a courageous performance but end up losing 3-1 to record champions Bayern Munich. After two further defeats, one victory and one draw, the Werkself are 14th in the table after matchday five.
After a 2-1 defeat against Hertha Berlin on matchday five, Bayer 04 do not lose again in the first half of the season in 14 games including in the DFB Cup. In the second round of the cup, the Werkself win 4-1 at home to second division Union Berlin and that's followed in the third round by a 1-0 win for the Black and Reds at Borussia Mönchengladbach. Bayer 04 move up to fourth place by the winter break.
Record for Havertz
Kai Havertz makes a decisive contribution to the 5-1 at Borussia Mönchengladbach with three assists. That makes the 18-year-old the youngest player in the history of the Bundesliga to set up three goals in one game.
Spectacular strike duo
Leon Bailey and Kevin Volland score 15 of the Werkself's 34 Bundesliga goals in the first half of the season and also provide six assists together. The media celebrate Bailey as the "Jamaica rocket", "Allrounder" and "Usain Bolt of the Bundesliga". How indispensable Kevin Volland has become for the team is reflected in the half-year statistics: The striker appears in 17 out of 19 matches and is in the starting eleven in all of those games.
Bayer 04 get involved with the eSports scene in December 2017 and sign up Marvin Hintz, one of the most internationally successful German FIFA players. Marvin lives in close proximity to the BayArena and is a passionate Werkself fan.
Carry on together
Bayer 04 agree a four-year extension with kit supplier JAKO to 30 June 2022.
Kies' big number
Stefan Kießling achieves a big dream when he comes on in the match away to VfL Wolfsburg (2-1) on 3 March: The central striker has reached the milestone of 400 Bundesliga appearances – as only the 66th player in the history of the top-flight in German football.
End of the line against Bayern
In the quarter-finals of the DFB Cup, the Werkself come back from a two-goal deficit to beat Werder Bremen to win the exciting cup tie 4-2 in extra time. Through to the semi-final. That proves to be an insurmountable hurdle against FC Bayern. Bayer 04 lose 6-2 to the record cup winners at the BayArena.
Qualification for the Europa League
Bayer 04 end the season with a 3-2 victory over Hanover 96 to finish level on points in fifth place with Borussia Dortmund in fourth and TSG Hoffenheim in third place, and thereby qualify for the Europa League
Stefan Kießling makes his last appearance for the Werkself on matchday 34 in his 403rd Bundesliga match and takes a bow in front of the Werkself fans who have put together a fantastic choreography to thank him for twelve great years. Kießling remains at the club in another role. Bayer 04 midfielder Vladlen Yurchenko leaves the club.
Schade goes, Carro arrives
Bayer 04 CEO Michael Schade retires at the end of June after five years at the top of the club. His successor is Fernando Carro de Prada, previously chairman of the board at Arvato in Gütersloh and board member at Bertelsmann SE, and now chairman of the board with the Werkself. Rudi Völler becomes a director on the board on 1 July and Jonas Boldt follows him as sporting director.