By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) – The successful team building efforts of Swiss coach Gerardo Seoane allow Bayer Leverkusen to dream bigger.
Ahead of Sunday’s Bundesliga title match against league leaders Bayern Munich, the 42-year-old’s strategy of turning his squad into a real squad seems to be paying off.
With Leverkusen currently in second place, the former Young Boys manager now faces the challenge of keeping his team’s high position in the standings. A failure to maintain good form has plagued the club like a dark shadow in recent years.
The duel against the reigning German champions would be the first real test for this young team from Leverkusen.
Compared to several failed attempts in the past, things have changed for the better, according to German international defender for Leverkusen, Jonathan Tah.
Seoane’s measures convinced Tah of the team’s potential. “We have a real team that competes in unity. We have grown despite our collective young age.”
Optimism is growing after 20 goals scored in just seven Bundesliga games. Apart from hopes of a successful league campaign, Leverkusen also intend to win the UEFA Europa League this season.
The current rise of the team prompted Tah, 25, to express her heart’s desire. “I hope we can continue to the finish line this time.”
But no matter how things turn out, Seoane’s start couldn’t have been better. The methods of the former Young Boys coach have sparked new ambition within the team.
“I haven’t experienced such positive energy and drive since arriving here,” said Tah, who joined Leverkusen in 2015.
As far as consistency is concerned, Leverkusen has often lost consistency before during the final break-in. The club failed to shake its reputation as the eternal runner-up, earning the nickname “Neverkusen”.
Leverkusen has finished second in the Bundesliga five times without winning the competition, a record in German football. The club have won only one DFB-Pokal and one UEFA Cup, and finished second in the 2001-02 UEFA Champions League, losing 2-1 to Real Madrid in the final.
Despite their past inconsistency, the team love to attack football, just like their fans. The club have been a constant source of exceptional talent who develop into top players.
The case of 18-year-old Florian Wirtz could tell the story. The striker is said to be one of the country’s most promising talents. Clubs such as Liverpool, Bayern and Borussia Dortmund are said to be interested in the midfielder.
Kai Havertz last summer rang the club’s revenue bell as Chelsea paid more than € 70million for the midfielder.
Coach Seoane claims the club have managed to fill their gaps after the departure of several key figures and have replaced them by following the model to rely on promising talent. “All of them come with exceptional strength. This is one of the reasons for our well-oiled performance,” says Seoane.
The Swiss are convinced the team did not have the required toughness last season, adding that the team’s mentality is stronger now.
Seoane managed to implement tactical variability. “It’s not just about following your strategy, but also adjusting your approach depending on the quality of your opponent,” commented the coach.
The game against Bayern is not a dream affair, but hard work and many kilometers on the pitch. Relying on the confidence of his coach Seoane, Leverkusen seems ready for another attempt to go all the way this time around.