Bailey’s Back On Target In Germany
Jamaican wipes away his flop label with instinctive strike
Leon Bailey grabbed his third goal of the season in the German top flight on Sunday, which signalled his return as a force to be reckoned with in the Bundesliga.
The Kingston-born midfielder, who was substituted in the midweek Europa League’s scoreless bore draw at Russian outfit FK Krasnodar, had his scoring boots back on for league action.
The plucky 21-year-old grabbed his chance to seal the 2-0 win for hosts Bayer Leverkusen against mid-table Fortuna Düsseldorf, and interestedly Bailey has only notched goals on home turf this term.
He will be delighted to have got back on the scoring sheet, albeit with a quick-thinking attempt on 66 minutes. Goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny parried Mitchell Weiser’s thunderbolt straight into the path of Bailey, who grabbed the gift to instinctively squeeze home the ball from a tight angle. Kai Havertz had given the hosts an 18th-minute lead.
He is back in the football arena and will be given a chance to shine in Thursday’s Europa League second leg against FK Krasnodar, who have lost all three previous trips in Germany in the competition.
Bailey’s minutes for Leverkusen last year were disappearing as swiftly as his form under coach Heiko Herrlich, with his stepfather and agent Craig Butler fuming at his lack of playing time.
With Herrlich replaced by Dutch head coach Peter Rosz at the start of the year, Bailey has been fully utilised in attack and given the chance to unleash his natural flair having impressed in friendlies during the winter break.
Having initially taken the Bundesliga by storm after signing from Belgium club Genk in 2017, he had to play the waiting game under Herrlich and Butler even threatened Leverkusen that Bailey could leave during the January transfer window.
But under Bosz he is playing regularly and it is apparent that his confidence is growing. The football fraternity took note of his recent brilliant goal from a sublime free-kick against Bayern Munich, and there is undoubtedly more to come from the precocious Bailey.
He continues to be monitored by an array of European giants, including AS Roma, Chelsea and Real Madrid, but has signed an extension to stay with Leverkusen until 2023.
The left-footed winger has turned down constant offers from Jamaica to make his senior debut, and recently stated that he needs to be playing with a bigger international team if he to achieve his dream of becoming the world’s greatest player of his era. Representing Germany appears his only current viable option, but is years away as he would only qualify after being a German resident for six years.
Already this campaign he nose-dived from being the next big thing to being a flop, but now Bailey has started to hit a rich vein of form then expect to keeping hearing more from one of Kingston’s finest footballing exports.
¡TRIUNFO DEL LEVERKUSEN PENSANDO EN EUROPA!#BundesligaxFOX | Volvé a ver lo más destacado del triunfo del Bayer, con goles de Havertz y Bailey, sobre el Fortuna Düsseldorf.
— FOX Sports Argentina (@FOXSportsArg) February 17, 2019
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