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2017 Florida Cup Preview: Bayer 04 Leverkusen

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 01/03/17, 8:44AM EST


Mexico’s Chicharito features for UEFA Champions League knockout round club

Photo courtesy Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Bayer 04 Leverkusen arrives in Florida with a star-studded lineup that has reached the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League, with Mexico’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez at the forefront of Coach Roger Schmidt’s side. The side also features German midfielder Lars Bender, and will be looking to spark a run up the league standings during its midseason break as it currently sits ninth in the Bundesliga at the Winterpause.


Head Coach: Roger Schmidt
League: Bundesliga
Schedule: Jan.  8 – vs. Estudiantes de la Plata, Al Lang Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Jan. 11 – vs. Atletico Mineiro, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.


Founded in 1904, as indicated by the club’s official name, Bayer 04 Leverkusen was founded by employees of the Bayer pharmaceutical company. The club has been one of the bridesmaids of the Bundesliga over the past 20 years, finishing second in the league on five occasions, but never managing to claim the title. It also finished as runner-up in the 2001-02 UEFA Champions League when it fell to Real Madrid in the final, but has to its name the 1988 UEFA Cup and 1993 DFB-Pokal in terms of silverware.

After finishing third in the Bundesliga a season ago, the club has had ups and downs in this season to leave it mid-table, but the side managed to earn a place in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League as it finished in second position in its group to edge out the Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur. A date with La Liga’s Atletico Madrid awaits in the Round of 16 in February.

Photo courtesy Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Player to Watch

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez

The El Tri standout leads Leverkusen with five goals this season, and is coming off a 2016 which saw him move within one goal of tying Javier Borgetti for the most goals in history for the Mexico National Team. Given his stature in North American soccer, Hernandez could be the biggest attraction for fans coming to the Florida Cup this year.

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