After enjoying a fantastic campaign last year, Heiko Herrlich wouldn’t have expected the pressure to be on so soon. The ex-Borussia Dortmund striker was the toast of the Bundesliga at times last year, with Leverkusen playing some of the most exciting football in their recent history. People even went as far as to tip them as being a potential title challenger to Bayern Munich.
So far, though, that story is yet to play out. Leverkusen have lost both of their opening Bundesliga games, and only just got beyond 1. CfR Pforzheim in the DFB Pokal on their opening match of the season. With a 1-3 loss at home to Wolfsburg, fans were audibly annoyed at the lack of quality in the performance, following a 2-0 loss to rivals Borussia Monchengladbach last time out.
Herrlich, then, is under immediate pressure – and faces daunting trips to FC Bayern and then Ludogorets Razgrad in the UEFA Europa League. Despite top players re-signing for the year to come, Leverkusen have struggled to find fluency so far, with some players remarking after the Wolfsburg loss that there simply was not enough cohesive play between the squad – yet.
If the club wishes to make good on that pre-season feelgood factor, they’ll need to pick up the pace quickly. Whilst star turn Leon Bailey has started the season well, it’s safe to say that there is a more to come from Bayer: if not, expect a new coach to arrive shortly.