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Bayer 04 Leverkusen is a Bundesliga side founded in 1904 by employees of the pharmaceutical giant Bayer, whose HQ's are situated in Leverkusen. This is the reason why their logo resembles the pills produced by the company, and also why their nickname is Die Werkself, which translates to The Company's Eleven. The club was promoted to the Bundesliga for the first time in 1979 and hasn't been relegated since then. During the 40 seasons they spent in the German top-flight, they ranked runner-ups a total of 5 times, setting a record in that department. Leverkusen has managed to win the DFB Pokal once and has also won the Europa League once. In the 01/02 UEFA Champions League, Bayer managed to reach the finals, which they lost 1-2 to Real Madrid.
Notable Bayer Leverkusen Transfers
Dimitar Berbatov from CSKA Sofia for €1.3 million in 2001 – During the five years Dimitar Berbatov spent with the Werkself, he ranked third in the all-time top scorers chart. Despite this, he actually has the highest ratio of games played to goals scored. For comparison, the greatest Bayer Leverkusen scorer of all time, Ulf Kirsten, scored an average of 17 goals per season, while Berbatov had an average of 18.5 goals per campaign. His magnificent striker sense earned him the move to the Premier League as Tottenham spent €16 Million to acquire him in 2006.
Lars Bender from 1860 Munich for €2.50 Million in 2009 – This has to be one of the club's most worthwhile transfers as Bender is still a regular player in Bayer's lineup. His 11 years with the team and over 320 appearances and counting make him a loyal to the bone defender, which has turned into a club legend and a fan favorite. Other clubs have wanted him throughout the years, but Bender feels at home at the BayArena. With his twin brother also playing for Leverkusen, Lars Bender will most likely retire wearing the Werkself's kit.
André Schürrle from Mainz 05 for €8.5 Million in 2011 – Schürrle began his career with a local club when he was 15, and it wasn't long after Mainz acquired and developed him. He was spotted by Bayer, who spent a considerable amount on buying the then 21-year-old midfielder. That was quite the transfer news at the time. This transfer surely paid off as the German as he contributed with both goals and assists during his two-year-long stay with the Werkself. In 2013 Chelsea stepped forward and signed the winger for the sum of €22 Million, tripling the money that Bayer previously spent.
Heung-min Son from Hamburger SV for €10 Million in 2013 – Up to this point, this transfer was the most expensive one in Leverkusen's history. In his two years at the BayArena, he scored 29 goals in 87 games, which was enough to attract a Premier League side's attention. Tottenham appears for a second time in this list as they bought Heung-min Son in 2015 for the reported sum of €30 Million. This transfer set the record for the most expensive Asian player in football history.