Much of the talk about this Leverkusen team is about Kai Havertz and Julian Brandt, but another player is re-emerging from the wilderness. Leon Bailey can return to his best under his new coach, writes Jonathan Harding.
Peter Bosz is the best thing that could have happened to Leon Bailey's career.
The Jamaican's minutes were dwindling as fast as his form under Heiko Herrlich. The employment of a Dutch head coach who puts so much emphasis on attack that his team selections barely include defensive players has been a blessing for a flair player who wants nothing more than to drive forward with the ball at his feet.
Although there have been glimpses of Bailey offering defensive coverage during his time at Leverkusen, including some against Düsseldorf, Bailey is not a complete winger. The former Genk man loves to score, assist and outwit his opponents with his skill. Not unlike the fleet-footed Jadon Sancho and Kingsley Coman, Bailey is exactly the kind of player who makes Bundesliga so watchable.
He is a player who wants to be unleashed not released, and Bosz is doing just that. The simplest way the coach is doing that is just by playing him regularly.
With that confidence grows, and it's clear that is returning to Bailey. His free-kick against Bayern was sublime and his tap-in against Düsseldorf a consequence of an improved sense of timing, the result of developing some rhythm.
Bailey has gone from being labeled a promising talent signed from the Belgian league to a superstar to a flop. Football's assessment is often brutal, particularly on young players. It's worth remembering the left-footed winger is still just 21, and there's still so much more to come.
If this continues, Bailey will be hitting form similiar to that of his first full season when he was Leverkusen's most dangerous player for most of the season. What that means for the club's summer of holding on to their players is another matter, but until then Bailey is closing in on his best.