Bayer Leverkusen | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 08.08.2006
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Bayer Leverkusen

Although Leverkusen hibernated in sixth place, no one's been particularly happy with this season.

Leverkusen are one of Germany's biggest teams but have struggled in recent seasons

Leverkusen are one of Germany's biggest teams but have struggled in recent seasons

Newly acquired strikers Stefan Kießling and Sergej Barbarez haven't lived up to expectations, and a team many tipped to contend for a Champions League spot will struggle to crack the top five.

Bayer's problem has been that they're great one week and terrible the next. In an attempt to provide more solidity, team bosses have extended the contracts of coach Michael Skibbe and commercial manager Rüdi Völler.

Leverkusen didn't make any major changes in the winter break. And if they are to make a run at the top, they'll have to do it without stopper Carsten Ramelow, who starts 2007 injured after a knee operation. "He won't be with us for a while," said Skibbe, "and when he's healthy, he's a guaranteed starter."

But Leverkusen were only in twelfth at this point last season and still qualified for the UEFA Cup so there's no reason to count them out.

The Roster

Goal: Jörg Butt, Rene Adler, Benedikt Fernandez

Defense: Juan, Athirson, Roque Junior, Fredrik Stenman, Ahmed Madouni, Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker, Alexander Meyer

Midfield: Tranquillo Barnetta, Simon Rolfes, Gonzalo Castro, Pierre De Wit, Paul Freier, Bernd Schneider, Carsten Ramelow, Marko Babic, Pirmin Schwegler

Strikers: Andrej Voronin, Michal Papadopulos, Stefan Kießling, Sergej Barbarez

(as of January 2007)

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