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Bundesliga Bayer Leverkusen season restart preview: Two ways to reach Champions League

The title is out of reach for Leverkusen, but can they upgrade from Europa League to the Champions League next season?

Europa League, Glasgow Rangers - Bayer Leverkusen, knockout rounds, last sixteen, first legs at Ibrox Stadium. Leverkusen’s Karim Bellarabi looks back. Photo by David Inderlied/picture alliance via Getty Images

The German government approved Bundesliga’s return. German football officials have decided on a restart date of May 16th. We take a look at some of the key clubs in the chase for the championship, places in European competitions for next season, and those fighting to avoid relegation.

Leverkusen were champions of Germany in 2011, but have been one of many clubs denied all silverware by the dynasty of Bayern Munich since. Usually in the top half of the table and often in Europe, their nickname of “Neverkusen” at the turn of the century applies yet again.

They defeated Glasgow Rangers at a raucous Ibrox 3-1 in their last match, but 24 hours later most of Europe was shut down. The club hopes to finish their Europa League tie with ‘Gers and complete the competition, but the only route to the Champions League available there is to win the tournament, with a win over the Old Firm side only placing them in the last eight. While their fifth place status in Bundesliga leaves them just one slot behind qualifying domestically.

Leverkusen are just two points adrift of the last UCL spot for now, and finding a way into that competition is the goal for the rest of this campaign, be it from the Bundesliga or a restarted Europa League.

Place in table

5th, 47 points

Key Players

Kevin Volland
Lucas Alario
Karim Bellarabi

Schedule remaining

@ Werder Bremen
@ Borussia Monchengladbach
vs Wolfsburg
@ Freiberg
vs Bayern Munich
@ Schakle 04
vs. Koln
@ Hertha
vs. Mainz 05

As the season returns

In calendar year 2020 Leverkusen have played as well as anyone. Across all competitions they are 11-1-1, with only a draw at Leipzig and a loss at Hoffenheim blemishing the record. They’ve also played attacking football, scoring 35 goals at senior level so far in the year, and were playing as well as anyone when the sport shuttered.

With only Bayern in the Top 8 besides Borussia Monchengladbach, their schedule sets up well to find a way, and the match with Monchengladbach becomes a six-pointer for UCL and the financial windfall that comes with it.

With the club already sniffing around the transfer market, the cash could be helpful in getting to the next stage both in the Bundesliga and in Europe. Striker Kevin Volland had been linked with a move to Arsenal, but it appears that’s been squashed for now.

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