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The False Start

Julian Brandt was one of the few German winners of the World Cup. This also raised great expectations for the Bundesliga. But the attacker disappointed them in the first two games just as much as his club did.

It has almost become a tradition at Bayer Leverkusen. Every year, before the start of the season, there’s the feeling that everything’s going to fit, that’s what this club’s season will be like. After the first matches, there’s a quick realization: Bayer will have bigger problems than initially expected.

This is also the case this year

The transfer policy was promising, the squad sounds spectacular. The only notable departures, Bernd Leno and Benjamin Henrichs, were replaced by Leverkusen on an equal footing with Lukas Hradecky and Mitchell Weiser. All the other important players from the previous season have remained – from Jonathan Tah to Lars Bender to Julian Brandt. Paulinho was another young attacker to join them.

After two games, however, Bayer has zero points. It is unlikely that this will change after the match with Bayern Munich. Sports Director Rudi Völler even says that the bad start is partly due to expectations – and is a bit of a challenge for his own team: “Some players have also told me a little too much about how good we are and how far ahead we can be,” he told the “Kicker” after the defeat against Wolfsburg. If Leverkusen loses in Munich as well, the last place in the standings threatens.

How can that be explained?

If you look at the surprising problems in Leverkusen, at least at this early stage you actually get to: Julian Brandt. Yes, the season is still extremely young. And yes, Leverkusen are already plagued by injury problems at an early stage: Lars and Sven Bender as well as Julian Baumgartlinger and Lukas Hradecky were out at the start of the season, Charles Aranguíz was just fit again after a knee injury. Not the most spectacular players in the team and yet important supports. And yet Brandt’s role to date is also striking.

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180 minutes, a shot on goal

Second matchday, Bayer vs. Wolfsburg. Kai Havertz plays Brandt after just 20 seconds. He goes into the penalty area, stands free in front of goalkeeper Koen Casteels – but then Jérôme Roussillon is still grappling with him. Strong action by the defender, but a Brandt in top form would probably have been the decisive fraction of a second faster. The scene is symptomatic of Brandt’s unfortunate appearances in the first two games.

In 180 minutes of play he only shot once on goal and fired two shots. By way of comparison, Leon Bailey on the other wing has so far scored seven goals and six goals. The Jamaican has also scored the only goal from Leverkusen. Brandt, on the other hand, have not yet lived up to the high expectations. Expectations that ironically also triggered the catastrophic World Cup performance of the DFB team in Russia.

The 22-year-old emerged from the summer as one of the few winners among many losers. After the first qualifying round in the history of the German World Cup, the DFB team was in for a lot. Convenience, arrogance, a lack of attitude – these were reproaches that were supposed to explain the historical failure. Not so with Brandt.

Brandt was praised for having enlivened the German game during his 19 minutes plus injury time. Against Mexico and Sweden he proved his outstanding shooting technique, but had the misfortune to only hit the post. He also scored twice against South Korea, despite a late substitution. Brandt was generally excluded from the comprehensive sporting criticism of the DFB team afterwards.

Most of the ball actions of the Leverkusen Offensive

It was therefore clear that the attacker would also be one of the great hopes for the new season in Leverkusen. In addition, he has already played 134 Bundesliga games. His share in the first two games also shows that he is already an important part of the team at his young age: against Gladbach (63 ball actions) as well as Wolfsburg (62) Brandt was the one of the four offensive players who had the most ball.

However, his actions and decisions in the first two games were unfortunate, sometimes too undecided, just like at the end of the first minute against Wolfsburg. Also one of his biggest strengths, the dribbling, he has not yet played out. Against Gladbach Brandt failed with all his four tempo runs, against Wolfsburg he won one and lost two dribblings. He can hardly set dangerous accents in this way. K8 Sports is free bet online casino site which is very accessible to all players that doesn’t want to deposit money to be able to play.

Against Bavaria, the speed on the wings with Brandt and also Bailey might be decisive. Due to the far moving Munich defence, both could get more space than against other opponents.

Brandt now returns from the national team to Leverkusen before the match. Against Peru he was among the best again, scored his second international goal – with only one shot on goal. He will probably need this effectiveness in Munich in particular, where he is unlikely to see an increase in his chances.

But perhaps these low expectations of the team will also do them good.