When Peter Bosz arrived in Leverkusen not long after a turbulent spell at Borussia Dortmund, he was desperate to prove there is some method to his madness.
Bosz is one of the most gung-ho managers in Europe, at times playing four attacking midfielders behind a striker, looking to overwhelm opposition with furious attacking football.
For Leverkusen, it seems to have worked. They won five of their last six games last season to sneak into the Champions League spots, something which had looked unlikely all season.
This summer they’ve lost key player Julian Brandt but kept the rest of the first-team together. Can they close the gap on the likes of RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich?
RealSport looks at how they could line-up and rate on FIFA 20.
Lukas Hradecky (OVR 84 – 82)
Leverkusen were hoping that, in Lukas Hradecky, they’d found an upgrade on Bernd Leno, available for free. After all, he was named the 2017/18 Bundesliga Goalkeeper of the Season. However, he’s struggled to replicate his Eintracht Frankfurt form in his first season with Leverkusen and suffers a two-point drop.
Lars Bender (OVR 82 – 81)
Position: RB, CDM, CM
When fit, Lars is the slightly more reliable Bender twin. His fitness, however, has hardly been reliable over recent seasons. Next season, he’s likely to compete for right-back with Mitchell Weiser or fill in as a defensive midfielder if Bosz decides to curb his attacking instincts. His rating drops to 81.
Sven Bender (OVR 81 – 81)
Position: CB, CDM
The other Bender twin is also susceptible to injury, but if fit, is likely to keep a starting spot, despite competition from Aleksandar Dragovic. Sven is a fierce player who, when on form, can play a big part in helping Leverkusen’s defensive record, which was the worst in the top eight last season. His rating stays on 81.
Jonathan Tah (OVR 83 – 84)
Tah is comfortably the best player in an otherwise leaky defence and is arguably Bayer Leverkusen’s second most valuable player. He’s physical, solid at the back and good with his feet. Leverkusen will be relieved that Bayern Munich have invested so heavily in their defence this summer, as he has the qualities to make that step up.
Wendell (OVR 78 – 78)
Wendell has been an ever-present at left-back for Bayer for the last five seasons. He scored twice and assisted twice in the league last season, and offers Bosz an attacking threat from fullback. At 26, he should now be coming into the prime of his career – Leverkusen fans will be hoping that competition from new signing Daley Sinkgraven will encourage him to elevate his game next season.
Charles Aranguiz (OVR 81 – 82)
Position: CM, CDM
When Charles Aranguiz joined Leverkusen in 2015, he turned down a superior financial offer from Leicester City, calling them a “small club” – Leicester would win the Premier League later that season. He enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence under Bosz last season, assisting seven goals in 24 league appearances. There were rumours that he’d be leaving, but now appears to be staying put.
READ MORE: Roma FIFA 20 player ratings predictions
Kerem Demirbay (OVR 82 – 82)
Position: CM, CAM
Kerem Demirbay had his best season for Hoffenheim last year, justifying why Leverkusen have invested the Julian Brandt money in him. From an advanced playmaker role, he scored four and assisted nine in the Bundesliga and should add even more creativity to an ultra-offensive Leverkusen midfield. His rating should stay at 82, where it was raised to in January.
Kai Havertz (OVR 81 – 83)
Position: CAM, RM
There’s no question that Kai Havertz is now the central jewel in the Leverkusen crown. He’s always been an exciting prospect, but he used last season to announce himself as one of the best young players in world football. From midfield, he scored 17 goals in the league alone, the highest of any Leverkusen player. Holding onto him beyond this season may be a tough task, but Leverkusen may seek a nine-figure sum. His rating will increase to at least 83, perhaps slightly limited by his age.
Karim Bellarabi (OVR 81 – 81)
Considering he only started 14 Bundesliga games, Karim Bellarabi’s return of five league goals and four assists was impressive last year. One criticism he does receive is that he’s slightly inconsistent. He’s a useful player on FIFA though – his blistering pace makes him a dangerous impact sub.
READ MORE: Chelsea FIFA 20 player ratings predictions
Leon Bailey (OVR 82 – 81)
Position: LM, RM
Although Leon Bailey began to improve under Bosz, he struggled to recreate the form that earmarked him as one of the league’s most exciting prospects the year before – his return of five goals and one assist down on the nine goals and six assists in 2017/18. He’s still a hugely promising player and whether Bosz can get the best out of him next season will be key to their hopes.
Kevin Volland (OVR 81 – 82)
Position: ST, RW, LW
Volland spent the majority of last season as a striker, scoring a respectable 14 league goals. He’s equally comfortable on the wing, which is where he may play if Bosz decides to use striker Lucas Alario from the start. Regardless of position, Volland will be starting. He gets a one-point boost to 82.
On the bench
Turkish keeper Ramazan Ozcan (OVR 75 – 75) will continue to deputise for Lukas Hradecky.
In defence, Alexsandr Dragovic (OVR 77 – 78) will provide good cover. They will be hoping for improved performances from Tin Jedvaj (OVR 76 – 75), who was shaky last season. Mitchell Weiser (OVR 78 – 78) and Daley Sinkgraven (OVR 72 – 75) provide cover at fullback.
In midfield, Julian Baumgartlinger (OVR 78 – 78) provides a more cautious option, while they have signed attacking midfielder Nadiem Amiri (OVR 78 – 77) from Hoffenheim.
One to keep an eye on is new man Moussa Diaby (OVR 65 – 72), a winger who has been signed from PSG. Lucas Alario (OVR 79 – 79) adds striking depth.
Bayer Leverkusen Predicted Lineup
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