Kai Havertz

Kai Havertz - Leverkusen's revitalised Golden Boy

The 20-year-old is one of Europe's hottest properties and has started to find form again after a mid-season slump

12:44pm on Friday 21st February 2020
By
Ronan Murphy | German Football Expert

There is a lot of interest around Kai Havertz and it's not surprising to see why.

Europe's biggest clubs were sniffing around the 20-year-old attacking midfielder last summer and will definitely be back in for Havertz in the next few months.

Bayer Leverkusen were able to keep prying hands away from their golden boy (and Europe's Golden Boy nominee) in 2019 but sporting director Rudi Voller knows that he might not have it so simple in the summer of 2020.

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"I am glad that we still held on to him this year," Voller told 100% Bundesliga.

"We'll see how it looks in summer. He still has a contract until 2022 - these are, of course, the classic facts.

"There was already interest in the summer, but we told him that it would be good for him to stay with us for another year. And that was the right decision."

20 yrs - AM (CR) - Leverkusen
83
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
1624
Played matches
19
5
2
Shots P90
1.83
Dribbles P90
2.44
Successful passing %
86%
Final third passes P90
17.57

Steffen Freund, former player and leading German football pundit, agrees.

"I know it's a lot about money, but I would advise him to stay at Bayer Leverkusen for another season," he said.

"Bayer Leverkusen is under no pressure because it is a long-term contract. I also know that Rudi Voller recommends that to him.

"But then comes the pressure with consultants, large clubs that can also win titles, which is relatively rare with Leverkusen. Then it is just too good at some point [to stay at] Leverkusen. But why not another year?”

TARNISHED GOLDEN BOY

Havertz's Golden Boy nomination came after a tremendous 2018-19 where he scored 17 Bundesliga goals and provided three assists in the league. It looked as if he would pick up where he left off when the 2019-20 campaign started, with a goal in both the DFB-Pokal opener and the first Bundesliga game of the season.

Another goal came against Augsburg at the end of September, but then the goals dried up and he was even left on the bench for a key game against Bayern Munich as he returned from a muscle injury.

Havertz sometimes looked lost Leverkusen head coach Peter Bosz used him as an eight in a 4-3-3 set-up, but a switch back to 4-2-3-1 with the Germany international back in his preferred No.10 role brought the goals back - one in each of the first two games of 2020.

The past couple of games have seen Bosz tinker with a 3-4-2-1 approach, pushing Havertz wide but as part of a front three opposite Moussa Diaby, resulting in a thrilling win against Borussia Dortmund and then a 3-2 away victory at Union Berlin where Havertz scored the first of Leverkusen's three goals.

lev - Football tactics and formations

The latter win was Havertz's 50th taste of victory in the Bundesliga, becoming the third youngest player to reach that milestone (after Julian Draxler and Christian Pulisic). Coincidentally, in the 106 games it took to reach that tally, Havertz has been involved in 50 goals (29 goals, 21 assists).

RETURN TO THE EUROPA LEAGUE

He has yet to score or assist in Europe this season as Leverkusen were handed a difficult Champions League group, facing Juventus and Atletico Madrid as well as Lokomotiv Moscow. A third place finish saw them drop into the Europa League, where Havertz will be hoping to recapture last season's form of three goals and three assists in six games in the competition.

Despite Havertz's dry spell, he has been a better creator overall for Leverkusen and already has made 10 big chances for his team-mates, compared to just six last season. The Europa League is also where he excels in front of goal, averaging 4.3 shots per 90 minutes - his best return in any competition in his career to date.

Back in Europe's second competition, Havertz can show once again what made him so coveted last summer - and exactly why the likes of Liverpool have been linked with him again this year.

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