By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) — The successful team building efforts of Swiss coach Gerardo Seoane are allowing Bayer Leverkusen to dream bigger.
Ahead of the Bundesliga’s headline match this Sunday against league leaders Bayern Munich, the 42-year-old’s strategy of turning his squad into a true team seems to be paying off.
With Leverkusen currently riding high in second place, the former Young Boys coach now faces the challenge of keeping his team’s lofty position in the table. A failure to maintain good form has dogged the club like a dark shadow in recent years.
The duel against the reigning German champions is said to be the first proper test for this young Leverkusen side.
Compared with several failed efforts in the past, things have changed for the better, according to Leverkusen’s German international defender Jonathan Tah.
Seoane’s measures have convinced Tah of the team’s potential. “We have a true team competing in unity. We have grown up despite our young collective age.”
Optimism is growing after 20 goals scored in just seven Bundesliga matches. Aside from hopes of a successful league campaign, Leverkusen also has designs on winning this season’s UEFA Europa League.
The team’s current upswing has made the 25-year-old Tah express his heart’s desire. “I hope we can continue until the finish line this time.”
But no matter how things end, Seoane’s start couldn’t have been better. The former Young Boys coach’s methods have unleashed new ambition among the squad.
“I haven’t experienced such positive energy and dynamism since I came here,” said Tah, who joined Leverkusen in 2015.
Regarding consistency, Leverkusen often previously lost consistency in the final run-in. The club has not managed to shake its reputation of being 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 has won just one DFB-Pokal and one UEFA Cup, and finished runner-up in the 2001-02 UEFA Champions League, losing 2-1 to Real Madrid in the final.
Despite its past inconsistency, the team enjoys attacking football, as do their fans. The club has been a constant source of outstanding talents that develop into top-class players.
The case of 18-year-old Florian Wirtz might tell the story. The attacker is said to be one of the country’s most promising talents. Clubs such as Liverpool, Bayern and Borussia Dortmund are rumored to be interested in the midfielder.
Kai Havertz last summer made the club’s income bells ring as Chelsea paid over 70 million euros for the midfielder.
Coach Seoane claims the club has managed to plug its gaps after several key figures departed and replaced them following the pattern to count on promising talents. “All of them come along with an outstanding robustness. That is one of the reasons for our well-oiled performances,” Seoane claims.
The Swiss is convinced that the team lacked the required robustness last season, adding that the squad’s mentality is stronger now.
Seoane has managed to implement tactical variability. “It’s not only about following your strategy, but also adjusting your approach depending on your opponent’s quality,” the coach commented.
The game against Bayern is not a case for dreaming, but one of hard work and covering many miles on the pitch. Relying on their coach Seoane’s confidence, Leverkusen seems ready for another attempt to go all the way this time.