The summer break is even less than usual for us, as it's a World Cup year, hosted by Brazil so it's either make the trip and be well away from the club, or stay home - no popping in and out. We ought to have some players in the Germany squad, but the oddities of this particular situation mean we don't - nobody does. Shhhh....
A Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Romania, Egypt
B South Africa, France, Paraguay, Bosnia & Herzegovina
C USA, Scotland, Spain, Cameroon
D Argentina, Australia, Poland, Ghana
E Croatia, Chile, Bahrain, Germany
F South Korea, Portugal, England, Uruguay
G Colombia, Slovakia, Mexico, Turkey
H Canada, Japan, Ivory Coast, Switzerland
Leverkusen players who will be involved are Domagoj Vida and Zvonko Pamic (Croatia), Matias Fernandez (Chile), Michael Bradley (USA), Eren Derdiyok (Switzerland), Alberto Botia (Spain), Kyle Walker (England), Sandro (Brazil). Good luck to them all! Of my former Hibernian players - well, the Scotland squad are dominated by players playing abroad, backup keeper Mark Brown and defender Paul Hanlon represent Hibernian, the only other SPL player in the squad is Celtic's Mark Reynolds.
Leverkusen have moved up to 12th in UEFA club rankings. I was actually hoping to have moved just a little higher, but we have one "bad" year left of the rolling five, 3.6 pts from 2009/10. Preliminary for next ranking is we're around 5th, but to confirm that we'd have to have another good campaign this year. OL are now top over Barca, as two time holders, that shouldn't be a surprise. Germany as a nation have dropped a bit, not because of our poor performance but because how glowing France's results have been. Spain, England and Italy, in that order, retain the three spots with four entrants into the Champions Cup. We're not going to move up, as Germany drop off a good year for the next round, but in no danger of being caught by 6th placed Portugal who are well behind.
We've got coaching contracts coming up for renewal, and won't be renewing them. We brought in two young Germans who'd recently ended their playing career to help with fitness last year, they're now moving on to regular coaching spots. Zvonko Komes, one of the incumbent fitness coaches, is not retained, and Peter Davidson, who was with me at Hibernian and left when I did, has come over to rejoin my staff. The other incumbent fitness coach I may just drop, as we want to keep this part of the staff as strong as it can be.
We made a lot of money for the year, so some goes out to shareholders, €16.75m. It can now be confirmed I guessed wrong on one bit of financial business... from before I arrived, Arturo Vidal had been sold to Zenit St Petersburg, and recently the board negotiated a buyout of the transfer fee - we were due 10% of any sale profit, and the negotiated fee was €678k - meaning break-even was a sale of €17.28m. After it became clear he wasn't going anywhere in the winter, we decided to take the buyout. He's just gone to OM for €21m. Well, can't always guess right. Meanwhile, France are strengthening again... while OM have won the Champions Cup twice in a row, they've trailed a bit in league results, 6th last year, 4th the year before, perhaps they figure this will make them even better. I'd prefer not to play them again, even if there's now a double revenge motive.
Interesting note from Edinburgh, I considered signing free agent Steven Taylor my first year at Hibs but we didn't have the finances to pick up his salary even on a free transfer. He went to Kilmarnock instead, for a lot less money than he asked us for. He then moved on to Reading for two years, and now, with Hibernian facing the probably exit of club stalwart Paul Hanlon (offers from Fulham and Blackburn), Owen Coyle has brought Taylor back to Scotland, where I assume he'll do well again.
We've now had the small ceremony for the opening of the new Leverkusen Stadion, initially with a capacity of 41,262, but designed so it could be expanded all the way to 65,000. They didn't tell me about that part last year, and now the build makes more sense, since the old stadium couldn't be expanded at all beyond its 31,000-ish capacity (some of which was standing room, the new one is an all-seater). Looking forward to the opening match, which will probably have a bigger deal, but don't know the opponent yet.
Finally, we get some club awards related to last season (it's 20 June, doesn't seem late, but...). The fans have voted Matias Fernandez player of the year... not bad for a free signing, is it?
The best XI is "pick of the players" Derdiyok, plus Adler, Botia, Bradley, Castro, Dante, Giefer, Jorgensen, Kadlec, Fernandez, Oczipka, Sam, Sandro, Schürrle, Sukuta-Pasu, Troost, Walker and Yahia.
Anthar Yahia, Richard Sukuta-Pasu, and Domagoj Vida are added to the all-time best XI (out-of-character note: of course this is only for the period since the game began, not truly all-time), which now consists of a starting XI of Adler, Kadlec, Dante, Botia, Castro, Ballack, Schürrle, Augusto, Bradley, Kiessling and Derdiyok and "backups" Giefer, M.Friedrich, Yahia, Vida, Sam, Helmes, Sukuta-Pasu.
Congratulations to all!
Turns out this year there's no Friday early match, all teams will begin play on Saturday 23 August, and we'll be hosting Wolfsburg to open the season. Presumably, since Wolfsburg are an opponent, I can't expect them to gift me a Bugatti Veyron from their patrons Volkswagen Group AG
We'll visit FC Bayern in the second match of the season, looks like the table will be set early this year, like it was my first season - who will chase whom? Dates a bit odd; last year we opened the league on 9 August, the year before on the 18th, the year before that on the 5th. Looks like we've got a couple more friendlies to work in.
I released youth players with no potential before we looked at who was ready to move up from the academy. More players were then moved on to the U23 squad for age reasons. Now the staff get together and bring up 11 new players.
Now begins the fun part... clubs are going to start coming after our players. OL want Schürrle to replace Michel Bastos, apparently. Chelsea want Alberto Botia... I want to keep this player, but he's not so spectacularly good/consistent that I'd try to force him to stay. Botia's release clause is €29.5m, and for the good of the club, I wouldn't go insane trying to keep that deal from going through. Marijn Troost has been the subject of a €12m bid from Girondins Bordeaux... this is a different story, I don't think there's a young striker of similar quality anywhere in the world right now whom I could plug in as a replacement for the same price. So... that one doesn't seem to have a future (note this was the only real big, the other two were rumors).
One other bit of early transfer business, we have an offer to loan Salaheddine Naciri or 275k for the year. I'm not sure if he's ready to be a factor in the team or not. I think I have a better player for the AMC/MC role when I think of Ivan Bustos.
Odds, for whatever little they matter: we and Bayern are 3-1, then Hoffenheim 5-1, Dortmund 16-1, Schalke 25-1, HSV 33-1. Seems like they think it's a 3-team race, nobody else in the picture really.
We're been approached for another coach, this time Frenchman Ludovic Taillandier, a guy I hired. I don't have a problem if a coach thinks they're getting a better job than I'll offer, we're all in this business to achieve dreams. Leverkusen is a pretty nice family, the club are just goal difference in one season away from being four-time titlists. But... if you think you're going to advance your career better elsewhere, I'm not standing in the way. Time for a 1:1 chat... and the chat goes nowhere, he's off... for 1860 Munchen.
Naciri accepts the loan offer after we did.
July 1, the new players arrive, the ones out of contract leave. Unfortunately, Biglia won't be a factor for a while, he's recently been injured and will be unable to play until 2014.
Michael Ballack stays with the club, accepting a coaching role.
World Cup quarter finals are Brazil v Scotland, France v Spain, Germany v Turkey, England v Mexico. Winners are Brazil, France, Germany, England. Semis are Brazil v England, France v Germany. Kyle Walker has been excellent for England, I'm still a little mystified Spurs let him go, but they've got France DR Sebastian Corchia. It's France v Brazil in the final.
We're happy with the squad at the moment, not looking to add. The question is about subtractions. Unwanted striker Valeri Domovchyiski was out on loan last year to Werder Bremen with an option to buy, but unsurprisingly they didn't take up the option - he only appeared four times, one start, with one goal and an average rating of 6.35. We offered him out, and he got one bite - Spanish club Almeria. He should take this gig, they're certainly not the top club in Spain but they're woefully short of attacking options as far as I can see, and Spain is at the moment the world's best league (England will argue, but UEFA rankings put them top of Europe). It's a chance to rebuild a career that unfortunately stalled at Leverkusen. Keeper Benedikt Fernandez I talked about before, promised to try to find him a new club, and we've replaced the spot with a third keeper (Nowak) who's young enough to be eligible to play for the U23's for several years to hone his skills and stay sharp so if we need a third keeper, he'll be ready. He's got a bunch of offers, one is a full transfer offer from Genoa, the rest (13) are year loans. He asked to go, so he's got his pick, hope he takes one. I've got clubs interested in Bustos, Vazquez and Reale. If the former two come good, Reale kind of turns out to be surplus. His offer is a loan, although Schalke prefers it to be a loan with option to buy. Actually, Schalke fished for the two Argentinians too. I'm loath to strengthen a league competitor who had a very good defense, but couldn't score. I could loan them a player such as Reale to increase his skills, game experience, but hopefully he's not so good it bites us, but I'm not selling them one of the Argentinians. If I can avoid it, I'm not selling them to anyone until they've turned into the stars they're expected to be and we wan get €25-40m. Greedy? Yup, I'm trying to build the club, and maybe, just maybe, there will be a time when players don't pull a Renato Augusto and feel like their career needs another "bigger" club to reach where they want it to go. Nobody has followed up on the rumored swoops for players like Schürrle, Derdiyok, etc. We do have too many players right now, but the equation is complicated. Some players could stand to go out on loan, but I don't want that happening too early, it would be horrid to not be able to hold on to, say, Andre Schürrle and have that happen after we've loaned out someone who would then be needed.
I said "complicated"... I like versatile players so I shouldn't sound like I'm complain. So what's complicated? Gonzalo Castro was an absolute star my first year at right back, but after the arrival of Kyle Walker he's a bit grumpy, he sees he's going to end up being the #2 choice behind the current England #1 at that position. But in terms of potential, right back never actually looked like his best position. We've got one coach who thinks he's now our best right midfielder. Another thinks it's Andre Schürrle, who's also our best left midfielder. Mathias Fernandez has been working on playing a wide left position, but he's maybe the top AMC - certainly that was his position last season and that role got him the award for the team's player of the year. I've got basically eight central midfield types, Fernandez, Sandro, Bradley, Bender, Vazquez, Bustos, Pamic, Reale. That's clearly too many - but what if one of them (Fernandez left or Reale right) turns out to become the choice wide - how can I predict whom not to let go on a temporary or permanent basis? Confirmed wide players are Schürrle and Sam, Jorgensen and Risse, and the still disappointing Trochowski. I pruned here last year so the picture is clearer - except if Castro, Fernandez and/or Reale force themselves into the wide midfielder equation?
My assistant thinks we're weakest in defense, meanwhile. Left back is considered the weakest position in the club now, a position manned by the pair of Kadlec and Oczipka (the latter got a new contract just at the end of last year, after he stepped in really well for Kadlec's injury time, and was the better player after Kadlec returned). So I don't necessarily agree there's a weakness there. In central defense, we had some issues with a very solid starting pair - Botia and Dante. It's that both tended to get themselves into positions where they couldn't compete - suspensions, injuries, etc. I'd probably be happier with one mercurial DC and one ultra-stable one, but I seem to have two of the more mercurial type. Yahia is a good backup, but in his last year of his contract and will be 33 by the end of the year. Vida is much younger and while also in his last year, I want to keep him, he's showing he's a versatile player although on the other hand not one who has been able to make one position his own. The youngsters I have don't seem to be ready for a major role - Babacar Dieye (DC/DR) and Mitchell Winter (DC) being the ones who'll get time, both players I brought in.
Contracts are the next issue... the players running out after this season are Yahia, Trochowski, Kadlec, Kiessling, Helmes, Vida, Pamic, Jorgensen and Sam. Based on today's situation, Kadlec, Kiessling, Vida, Jorgensen and Sam are ones I'd want to re-sign for sure. For the others, it depends on performance, and the evolution of other situations. Whether we can afford to re-sign that batch is another question. We've been given an expectation of winning the league, the salary budget is €1.447M of which we're spending €938m - plenty of room because of the departures of Ballack (as a player) and Augusto meaning we have more headroom than one might expect, but we've got a lot of good players whom we'll have to convince to stay so I don't think there's as much space as it looks like once we start working those deals. After all, the idea is to actually reward the players for being one of Europe's top clubs, so they don't think they have to leave for others of Europe's top clubs.
Brief note from Hibernian, whom I've as usual arranged a friendly with: Joleon Lescott has also joined, a shrewd deal it looks like since it was a free transfer. At 31 he's not a spring chicken any longer, and he never did completely break in as a top flight starter at Man City, but it's not going to weaken Hibs' defense to have added Taylor and Lescott. They've also gotten a kid from parent club Liverpool on a year loan, Raul Egea. Frank Simek, yet another defender (USA international on occasion) also joins on a free. That balances the departure of Paul Hanlon and James McCarthy who left for fairly significant fees (the problem of getting good for a Scottish club), as well as Ian Murray and Callum Booth who went free.
Now here's a challenge... the third hot French club, Girondins Bordeaux, have put in an offer for winger Lewis Holtby. A player I covet, honestly... since we seem to end up battling French clubs all the time, can I afford to let him escape Germany? What do I do with the wide-player situation if I spend moderately big for Holtby (assuming he's come). Holtby, as can be inferred from the name, has English parentage, but he's born in Germany and always played there (Gladbach, Aachen, now Schalke which has included loans at Bochum and Mainz). I hedge bets by saying I admire his talent, and it draws an excellent reaction ("Holtby revels in praise"). Hmmm....
Domovchiyski does take the Almeria offer, and I wish him well with his new career. And Fernandez takes the permanent transfer option too, good for him. We've missed out on Holtby, he's taken the offer while we're deciding, thought there might be a day or two more. Hope I didn't blow something.
Brazil win the World Cup; Germany beat England for 3rd place. The Spain job is open after a "terrible" performance (lost in the qtr final on penalties, not so terrible to most of us). They don't offer it to me, though
It's July 27, and a very special day: our only home friendly, and thus the first match of any sort in new Leverkusen Stadium. We've already sold 25,857 season tickets. We're hosting AS Roma. We have a pretty good time, but it's not clicking for a lot of goals, we've hit woodwork some, the keeper taps a number over, and Martin O'Neil's defending keeps us from second chances; despite 25 shots, it's only Botia's goal, and a win where the managers say complimentary things about each other. We actually got 30,000 fans to come out for a friendly, not bad.
Our next friendly was a win over PSG in Paris, leaving us with one final friendly, our now-regular with Hibernian, who have just survived a tough Champions Cup 3rd Round qualifying match with Finland's FC Inter, not a noted world power. Scotland had slipped back down in the nation coefficients so the league winner has to enter at qualifying - their ratings are good enough that /next/ year the winner will enter direct into the group stage. Wouldn't say the odds looked great for them on initial indications.
At the moment, we've not developed much of a sense of where the club is, waiting for real matches. Kiessling is banging in goals like mad, Derdiyok looks a lot less interested, we already had a chat about his thinking about a bigger club - I said we still have ambitions here and he was happy with that - for now. Sukuta-Pasu has looked off kilter. Fernandez has not looked very good. Schürrle is looking like maybe he's taken another step forward. Newcomer (returnee) Bender hasn't really looked comfortable, hope I didn't make a mistake here. We'll play the Hibs match based on fitness needs, then we'll open with minnow Lippstadt in the German Cup, where despite last year's failings, I'll go with a reserve lineup.
After the Hibernian match, we find out Fernandez will miss around a month with a groin problem. That kind of exposes that if we're going to play the diamond 4-4-2 (or 4-1-2-1-2 if you prefer), the options aren't ideal after Matias... Bustos and Pamic are not players I have full confidence in for any kind of longer spell... I think they both have the skills, but they're not proven yet. Of course, we can also play our flat 4-4-2, and indeed Bender is here in large part to form a partnership with Bradley when we do that, at least for now, after the retirement of Ballack.
We've got one of the targets for reserve-team strikers to come, young Dutchman Jordy Pool who had some big clubs after him, so I'm pleased he's come. We're expecting more than reserve-team of course, but at 17 that's his role for now, and we have to keep preparing for the aging or possible departure of Kiessling and Derdiyok (and current fifth wheel Helmes is over 30 now).
SV Lippstadt 08 - Bayer Leverkusen (German CUp Rnd 1)
1-5 (Jorgensen 2, Troost 3, Vida 58, 62, Sukuta-Pasu 87)
We've gone with the diamond with Sandro and Bustos, and we're also trialing Castro as the right midfielder. Kiessling is still carrying a knock and Derdiyok is unhappy with me again, so neither is in for this one - but I wanted to give time to some others anyway. Troost and Helmes start. We've got two goals inside four minutes, not sure if we'll be able to keep the intensity going. We don't; it's 2-1 at the break after we carelessly let in a corner at the end. We score a corner just before the hour to make it safer - played well so far, but Lippstadt have been packing the box, beginning with five in the back, after their early adjustment we weren't breaking them down. Vida gets his second in five minutes the same way. The final 35 minutes of the game we got our groove and were very dangerous. Maybe I shouldn't be having any of those doubts about Bustos, he just completely bossed the midfield once he got over some apparent early jitters. Four assists? Seriously? Not exactly an all-backup lineup, three of the back four (Castro still recovering from a cold) and Sandro were in there, overall a decent show as we get ready for the league opener in a week.
Since we draw a decent side, 2nd division Hannover, we for once aren't forced to play away in the 2nd round.
Our other young striker arrives, Czech Peter Mares.
My worries about Hibernian going through to ECC Group play were apparently unfounded - in the Champions playoff first leg they've traveled to Karaburma, Belgrade, Serbia to face OFK Beograd, and come away with a stunning 7-0 away leg win. Celtic have it tougher, they've drawn French side Girondins Bordeaux.
Bayer Leverkusen - VfL Wolfsburg
2-1 (Botia 62, 67 - Shaqiri 43)
A Wolfsburg side with some new faces, they spent big, to the tune of €37m, although balanced by sales of €24.5m (mainly Simon Kjaer at €18.25m to Inter, and Per Ciljan Skjlebred at €5.5m to Schalke)... new names are Dalton (€9.5m from Gladbach), Michael Lumb (€10.5m from Stoke), Royston Drenthe (€6.75m from Celtic), Xherdan Shaqiri (€4.7m from Man City) and Fredy Guarin (€2.6m from Hertha Berlin). We have a good, but not great start but then let Wolfsburg into the match, and late in the half Shaqiri gets a debut goal. The leveler comes on the hour, crunch-time hero Botia again getting in for a corner. It takes six minutes to get a lead, Derdiyok looping in a free kick, Botia again on the end of it. If your forwards can't get it untracked, use your centre halves!!!! (Remember a brace for Vida in the cup match a week ago). We've eventually seen out what was a tougher win than I'd have liked. I question my decision to go to the flat 4-4-2 with the Bradley/Bender setup, and now have to decide what we'll do in a week in Munich. We've nearly sold out the new stadium in the official opener, 39,193 fans!
After completion of the first round, it looks like someone has inverted part of the table, perennial bottom feeders Aachen and new boys Cottbus top the table with their 3-0 wins; Bayern are 16th after losing 2-0 to Schalke. We're slotted in 5th as the best of the 3-point, 1+ clubs. Doesn't mean much at this stage - except for our relative position with Bayern, going into the big clash next week. It's always a question: do you want a match like that when the season is already rolling and it has great significance, or do you want it early like this year and two years ago when it's a factor in early-season momentum.
One of our Argentinian youngsters has gone out on loan, Nestor Vazquez will spend the year at Rennes. Unlike the earlier loan offer, from Fiorentina, this one involves a belief he'll be a starter.
Hibernian move on to the ECC group stage, they could have won the second leg by a lot more than 1-0, but it's plenty as it is despite dominance and missed chances.
For the group stage draw, we're in the 2nd pot, just missing out on the first, which is a prestigious OL, Barca, OM, Bayern, At.Madrid, R.Madrid, Inter and Juventus. We're within reach of the last two in that group; we're the 9th best rated club in the draw, just ahead of Arsenal. It's getting into rarefied air, here... I don't want to hear from anyone else that we're not a "big club". We get the Real Madrid group, there's a time they would invoke panic, but you only have to finish 2nd to go through, so the concern mainly is Napoli - what can we do with them.
A - Barcelona, Arsenal, Panthinaikos, Standard Liege
B - Juventus, CSKA Moscow, AZ Alkmaar, Djurgarden
C - Bayern, Bordeaux, Sevilla, Besiktas
D - OL, Roma, Dortmund, Hibernian
E - At.Madrid, Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Rapid Wien
F - OM, Rubin Kazan, Man City, Slavia Prague
F - Inter Milan, Chelsea, Galatasaray, Monaco
G - R.Madrid, Leverkusen, Napoli, Brondby
FC Bayern München - Bayer Leverkusen
1-4 (Babacar 45+1 - Derdiyok 6, Kiessling 21, 22, Vida 87)
3rd (goal diff. behind Dortmund, Werder Bremen, ahead of Gladbach, Frankfurt)
We're putting a beating on Bayern again, I don't think these guys understand what's going on. Derdiyok gets an early goal. Kiessling follows it up halfway through the period. With the pressure off, we go to counterattack mode instead, and it's only moments before it pays off and Kiessling scores again. 3-0 in only 22 minutes of play! Babacar gets one back with a decisive header off a corner in stoppage time. We're battling a period of Bayern supremacy in the second half, but hold them off. The ever dangerous Derdiyok almost scores, then Vida pokes one in on a corner, should have been 4-1 but the assistant has spotted a bogus foul and the referee goes along, so it's waved off. Vida does get a late goal off a corner after we've battled off more Bayern pressure. Really lovely sequence of forward play, including Helmes who's in at an AMR role, but Derdiyok's shot just misses the goal and catches side netting. Still, a 4-1 away win in Munich is nothing to sneeze at. So a part answer to the question I raised is, if you get just the right results, early is great... we're showing Bayern our taillights, 6 point lead after one two played, AND their home match vs. us is gone, so their only chance to snatch points back on us in a big way is the much harder route, at the new Leverkusen Stadium on Jan 24, 2015. We've had an astonishing run against our chief rivals, we've won eight in a row on an aggregate score of 27-8. And I've got an interesting dilemma, Fernandez won't be out many more games - we've got an international break pending - but Bustos laid down a marker in the cup match, then I gave Pamic a shot in this one and he laid down his own marker - against a vastly superior opponent. A nice problem to have - who plays in Fernandez' absence?
A bit more in the way of injury trouble, Kiessling will be out for 2-3 weeks. We're not at all short of striker options now, though - I've strengthened nicely here so we now have the same four senior forwards, plus Schürrle and Jorgensen who are reasonable fill ins, plus two good youngsters in the reserve/U23 team.
And a nice story... we have a Turkish kid, Baris Solmaz, whom everyone rates an excellent prospect as a left midfielder/winger. Arsenal came trying to offer a contract, and he turned them down!
A little summary of transfer activity... here are the biggest deals of the summer. The news is dominated by one massive move... Cesc Fabregas €71m Arsenal to Barca; Joao Moutinho €25.5m Porto to Barcelona; Arturo Vidal €21m Zenit to OM; Ron Vlaar €21m Twente to Dynamo Kyiv; Samir Nasri €20m Bordeaux to Valencia; Adrien €20m Genoa to Palermo; Gabby Agbonlahor €19.5m Aston Villa to Man City; Simon Kjaer €18.25m Wolfsburg to Inter; Alex Teixeira €18.25m Udinese to Catania; Steven Defour €18.25m Rubin Kazan to Inter; Salvatore Bocchetti €19m Rubin to Spurs; Felipe Caicedo €18.5m Lokomotiv Moscow to Man United; Cornel Rapa €15.5m Newcastle to Arsenal; Vedran Corluka €15.25m Everton to Chelsea; Federico Macheda €15.25m Man United to Spurs; Charles N'Zogbia €15.25m Bolton to Zenit.
Out of that... I notice two players I rate very highly for their midfield skills, Moutinho and Defour, have changed clubs and thus are probably out of our price range - and certainly unavailable for a while in any case. The others on that list have not been even remotely targets of mine, for all that I'm sure they're all very good players. There was one other significant player on the transfer lists but under my cutoff for the above - Schalke's Lewis Holtby has gone to Bordeuax for €12.25m. He never seemed interested in joining us anyway, but he's the only appropriate winger upgrade I've seen around and now he's off the market as well.
Wolfsburg probably made the biggest effort to strengthen, they lost Kjaer but added Michael Lumb, Dalton, Royston Drenthe, Xherdan Shaqiri, Soren Witt, Fredy Guarin and Markus Henriksen. Bayern stood almost still; nobody at all added and four less significant players going out. Dortmund have added a couple of bigger names, Gojko Kacar from HSV and Dennis Aogo from Mainz. Schalke have added several players after losing Bender and Holtby gave them €25m to work with - for €20m they bring in Baiano, Per Siljan Skjelbred, Jeffrey Bruma, Sascha Kljestan and Radja Nainggolan. Actually looks like a fairly reasonable bit of business.
SV Lippstadt 08 1-5 Bayer Leverkusen (German CUp Rnd 1) (Jorgensen 2, Troost 3, Vida 58, 62, Sukuta-Pasu 87)
Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 VfL Wolfsburg (Botia 62, 67 - Shaqiri 43)
FC Bayern München 1-4 Bayer Leverkusen (Babacar 45+1 - Derdiyok 6, Kiessling 21, 22, Vida 87)
End of Month Table Summary
1. Dortmund 6 +5 5gf
2. Werder Bremen 6 +5 5gf
3. Leverkusen 6 +4
4. Gladbach 6 +3
5. Frankfurt 6 +2
14. Bochum 0 -2 1gf
15. HSV 0 -2 1gf
16. Mainz 0 -2 1gf
17. Bayern 0 -5
18. 1860 Munich 0 -6
Both Munich clubs in the relegation spots? Well, one will probably not stay there
Basically, break-even for the month. And we're in excellent financial shape at the moment, despite the money spent on the new stadium.