No Bundesliga participant – not even the A-listers at runaway leaders Bayern Munich – are shining brighter proper now than Leverkusen’s sensible Jamaican winger Leon Bailey.
The 20-year-old, purchased from Belgian membership Genk for 13.5 million euros within the January 2017 switch window, has proved a blue riband performer in a purple shirt, a key think about Leverkusen’s concerted push this time period for Champions League qualification.
Little surprise the West Indian has turn out to be European scorching property. At house on both flank, he’s the entire package deal, an explosive mixture of lightning tempo, rubber-limbed dribbling contortions, elegant creativity and ending energy.
Surprisingly for one so younger, he additionally brings quite a lot of maturity to proceedings. He has a superb positional recreation, does his share of monitoring again and undoubtedly has a really feel for the collective good, serving up aim upon aim for grateful teammates.
So omnipresent is he for the resurgent ‘Werkself’ that he appears to be pulling concurrent day and night time shifts.
Put merely, he’s the kind of particular person who makes issues occur and positively was impressed when netting with an outrageous back-heel in a Four-1 home league win at Hoffenheim. An otherworldly piece of artistry.
“It was an instinctive effort,” declared a beaming Bailey afterwards. “I didn’t have another alternative as I had my again to aim. I knew the place the aim was. It wasn’t going wherever.”
Bailey’s story is the archetypal rags-to-riches chronicle. Rising up on the imply streets of Cassava Piece, a down-at-heel district of Jamaica’s capital Kingston, the younger Leon fairly presumably might have been sucked right into a world of gangs and crime. But because of soccer, discovered a manner out, first coming to Europe on the age of 15 and ultimately making a bridgehead for himself in Austria (USK Anif and FC Liefering), Slovakia (AS Trencin) and Belgium (Genk).
“Leon is essential for us,” says fellow Leverkusen wide-man Julian Brandt. “He’s usually our tin-opener, the man who opens the scoring or comes up with the winner. On this kind of kind, he’s value his weight in gold.”
What We Realized This Week
1. Crying Wolf
The seventh coach to chunk the mud within the Bundesliga this time period, Hannes Wolf has parted firm with free-falling Stuttgart. Simply eight months in the past, Wolf – a former reserve group boss at Dortmund – was basking within the glory of a second division title triumph. However with the Swabians dropping seven of their final eight video games, he had no place left to cover. “We needed to act earlier than it was too late,” mentioned Stuttgart director of sport Michael Reschke. “We have to construct up some momentum, to return to successful methods.”
2. Out for the Cup.
In a nightmarish begin to the New 12 months, RB Leipzig and Germany left-back Marcel Halstenberg faces a prolonged spell on the sidelines after being carried off his membership’s coaching floor with ruptured cruciate ligaments in his left-knee. Not solely will the 26-year-old miss the remainder of the present Bundesliga marketing campaign; his World Cup 2018 dream has gone up in smoke too. Halstenberg solely made his debut for the Nationalmannschaft final November, marking the event with a strong efficiency within the goalless pleasant towards England at Wembley.