Bayer Leverkusen starlet Leon Bailey produces perfect performance against helpless Hoffenheim
Ladies and gentlemen, step up once more for the Leon Bailey Show – for whenever Bayer Leverkusen’s creative Jamaican takes to the pitch, excitement, entertainment and jaw-dropping skills are in store; just ask Hoffenheim, the 20-year-old’s latest victims.
We thought we had seen it all in Bailey’s previous 15 Bundesliga outings this season: the tricks, the running and scheming, the quick-thinking and on-field high jinks. We were wrong. As Leverkusen mercilessly took their hosts apart under the Sinsheim showers, one man ran the show with Heiko Herrlich’s revived side making it 24 consecutive games in which they’d found the net during a 4-1 away win.
Watch: Bailey: “It just happened…”
And speaking of goals, what about Bailey’s opener? Having already found the net six times and providing four assists prior to the Hoffenheim test, the stupendous winger took to the Rhein-Neckar-Arena in daring mood. Some 43 minutes into the contest, Leverkusen’s No.9 controlled Julian Brandt’s deflected cross with his right, before hammering a back-heeled shot past a startled Oliver Baumann with his left.
“This was one of the most special goals I have ever scored,” the Kingston native told bundesliga.com.
Now fully in his element, Bailey haunted the Hoffenheim backline like an irrepressible spectre. Down the left he went with step-overs and drag-backs leaving beleaguered defenders kicking the air. A low cross eventually led to Brandt teeing up Julian Baumgartlinger for Leverkusen’s second.
After 70 minutes, it was 3-0 – Bailey this time opting for power over poise as he sped through the middle of the pitch before poking a through pass that found Lucas Alario who applied the finish. The game still had two goals left, but ‘Crafted by Leon Bailey’ had already been stamped all over it.
“How we take the lead doesn’t matter to me,” Leverkusen coach Herrlich said later. “But that opening goal was super; it was dirty,” the tactician drooled. “Leon Bailey can do anything at the moment,” he added.
And anything Bailey can do, his teammates look to follow. This time last year, Die Werkself were in ninth position, 18 points adrift of second spot. Inspired in large part by plenty of Jamaican wizardry this time around, Leverkusen are currently in second as the third highest scorers in the division. No wonder Die Werkself fans are now eager for each new instalment of The Leon Bailey Show.