Perhaps the name that has stood out most this season has been that of academy graduate, Kai Havertz. Bayer Leverkusen are one of the premier Bundesliga sides, famous for their attractive attacking football and boasting star players that include the likes of Leon Bailey, Julian Brandt and Jonathan Tah. The young German midfielder has enjoyed a very fruitful season this year and is being linked with big money moves left, right and centre.
Havertz is a 19-year-old attacking midfielder from Aachen, Germany. Standing at six foot, two inches tall, the Leverkusen lad has been described as a technically gifted, two footed midfielder who is more than comfortable with the ball on either foot and is very adept with his head.
His performances in Bundesliga have drawn much praise as well as comparisons to former Leverkusen midfielders Toni Kroos and Michael Ballack. In the last year or so, due to his impressive ability, German media have begun describing Havertz as “Alleskönner” – which translates as literally as “all-rounder”.
Havertz joined Leverkusen in 2011 from Aachen Jugend as an 11-year-old. He has risen through the ranks at the club over the years and has already represented Germany at U16, U17, U19 and senior level. The 19-year-old made the Leverkusen first squad at the start of the 16/17 season – making his debut on October 15th 2016, coming off the bench in a 2-1 loss to Werder Bremen.
During the course of that season Kai Havertz would go on to make 24 appearances in the league, bagging four goals in that time. The following season saw an increase in appearances as he made 30, but a decrease in effectiveness as Havertz scored just three goals. Then this season, all of that changed…
This last season has been by far the best in Havertz’s young career. Appearing in every league game of the season for Leverkusen, the young German bagged an impressive 17 goals and 7 assists. Leverkusen managed to nick the last UEFA Champions League spot available to Bundesliga sides as they hammered Hertha 5-1 on the final day to finish fourth – it’s the end of the season form that has really caught the eye from this young man.
In the last seven games of the season, Havertz scored seven goals from his midfield role. Throughout the course of the season, he started 97% of all league games and in that time, never went more than four games without a goal – even then, he only did that once at the start of the year. However, his form in Leverkusen’s, admittedly short, cup runs wasn’t quite as impressive – he scored three and assisted three in the six Europa League campaign. He failed to register either a goal or an assist in the two DFB-Pokal matches.
What’s next for Kai Havertz?
After a season as impressive as the one Kai Havertz has just registered, there is of course going to be much speculation about the future of the player. As with all good young, German players, Bayern Munich are leading the charge for his signature.
However, now that Leverkusen have secured Champions League football for next season, it seems their chances of keeping not only him, but many of their other top stars, has dramatically improved. Both Havertz and Julian Brandt have both been heavily linked with moves away in the last few months, and had Leverkusen finished outside the top four you’d say it was a guarantee they would leave. However, now that hasn’t happened, maybe they’ll stay after all.