By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Announcing ambitious goals seems a common trend in German football. After Borussia Dortmund abandoned their usual reticence to speak about winning the Bundesliga, Bayer Leverkusen have joined the list of clubs talking about titles.
"We want to win the German Cup, qualify for the 2020/2021 Champions League and have a successful Champions League campaign this season," Leverkusen's CEO Rudi Voller emphasized ahead of the 2019/2020 season.
The 90-cap former German international and 1993 Champions League winner also said it is time for a change in the club's policy.
For decades, the 1988 UEFA Cup and 1993 German Cup winner's position has been to develop young talents from all over the world. Now the club claims to be ready to attack the top German sides such as Dortmund and Bayern Munich, and be part of Europe's elite.
After having spent a combined 52 million euros on Kerem Demirbay (TSG Hoffenheim), Moussa Diaby (Paris Saint Germain) and Daley Sinkgraven (Ajax), Leverkusen are also eyeing up 23-year-old AS Roma striker Patrik Schick.
But despite Leverkusen's interest in Hoffenheim's 22-year-old midfielder Nadiem Amiri, the club's most important message is to withstand offers for midfield prodigy Kai Havertz, with the 20-year-old reportedly a target for Bayern.
"That proves we are no longer what you call an education side, but one that wants to reach our goals with the greatest possible determination," 59-year-old Voller underlined. The 1990 World Cup winner spoke of a "fundamental decision" made by the club's leaders.
Only 23-year-old German international Julian Brandt has left, joining Dortmund after they triggered a 25 million euro release clause in his contract.
The club's strategy change is expected to lead to growing success, the former striker commented. Finishing the 2018/2019 Bundesliga campaign in fourth place is said to be a starting point for further achievements.
Havertz, who is said to be on the list of several top European clubs, said Leverkusen is laying down a marker in not allowing him to leave. "I may want to make the next step shortly, but for now I regard it as a sign of strength from Leverkusen," Havertz commented. "I am only 20 and there is plenty of time to face new challenges in the coming years."
Leverkusen's sporting director and former German international Simon Rolfes said the new arrivals fit perfectly with the attacking style of play implemented by coach Peter Bosz.
In the second half of last season, Leverkusen achieved the highest possession figures of clubs across all European domestic leagues, at 67.8 percent, ahead of Premier League winners Manchester City, La Liga winners Barcelona and Champions League winners Liverpool.
Rolfes is convinced the club has returned to its roots. "We see we are increasingly attractive to young talents as they want to win titles in their early years already," the former midfielder underlined.