The newest member of MLS already has strong ties to the Bundesliga in its staff and players. Bayer 04 Leverkusen will soon make its second trip to North America to deepen its own ties with fans in the USA.
Just before the World Cup kicks off this November, American fans will have a chance to witness some international soccer at first hand in St. Louis, Missouri. Bayer 04 Leverkusen has announced that the team will play a friendly against MLS’s newest member, St. Louis CITY SC, on November 16. It will be the inaugural game at St. Louis’s brand-new CITYPARK stadium.
The friendly reflects the ever-growing ties between American and German soccer worlds, between MLS and the Bundesliga. Former German goalkeeper and coach Lutz Pfannenstiel is the current sporting director of St. Louis CITY. St. Louis’s squad moreover includes several familiar faces from German professional football, not least former Borussia Dortmund keeper Roman Bürki and Bundesliga veterans Joakim Nilsson (DSC Arminia Bielefeld), Eduard Löwen (VfL Bochum 1848), and Joao Klauss (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim).
“This match will not only be great for St. Louis, it will be a great test for our team and an amazing opportunity to step foot onto the field at CITYPARK for the first time,” said St. Louis CITY SC Sporting Director Lutz Pfannenstiel. “We couldn’t think of a better way to showcase the new stadium with a match against a Champions League team like Leverkusen, especially a few days before the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”
St. Louis CITY aspires to show the “aggressive, up-tempo style of play” that Bundesliga fans have come to expect and love, an attacking philosophy that meshes perfectly with Bayer Leverkusen’s own. “The game against a regular European Cup participant like Bayer 04 that is recognized throughout Europe is a big deal for us,” said Pfannenstiel. “I know this game will electrify St. Louis and the fans here.”