International Friendly Between CITY2 and Bundesliga Powerhouse Bayer Leverkusen Set for November 16
St. Louis CITY SC will preview Major League Soccer’s newest stadium, CITYPARK, by hosting one of Europe’s top clubs, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, for an international friendly between CITY2 and Bayer 04, on Wednesday, November 16 at 7 pm (CST), just prior to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“An international friendly with a Champions League-caliber club is the perfect way to introduce our new world-class stadium and district to our fans, the greater soccer community and the world,” said St. Louis CITY SC President and CEO, Carolyn Kindle. “The Bayer 04 friendly will be the first opportunity for fans to see a match in our new 22,500-seat stadium and sample our best-in-class STLMade fan experience, which will reflect St. Louis’ diverse culinary and music scene, ahead of our inaugural 2023 season.”
Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Friday, October 28 at 2 pm on St. Louis CITY SC’s app. Presale access to the event will be available to CITY SC season ticket members and for myCITY+ members. To purchase tickets to the international friendly, go to seatgeek.com.
“We are incredibly excited to be part of this historic event at CITYPARK with our friends at St. Louis CITY SC,” said Bayer 04 Leverkusen CEO Fernando Carro. “The history of the sport in St. Louis runs deep and the passion St. Louis CITY SC have already built up for the inaugural season with their fans and broader community is amazing to see. We look forward to being part of that energy and enthusiasm with this kick-off match at the new stadium and our second trip to North America in just 6 months as we continue to build the Bayer 04 brand in key markets around the world.”
Leverkusen is a former Champions League finalist (2002) and European Cup winner (1988 UEFA Cup) and perennial Bundesliga power, finishing third in the Bundesliga standings last season. The team competed in the 2022-23 Champions League group stage and has a sporting heritage that dates back to 1904 with its founding as a company sports club and football team for the Bayer Corporation, which is based in Leverkusen, Germany and has a strong presence in St. Louis.
“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.”
In their first year of existence, CITY2 captured the MLS NEXT Pro Western Conference regular-season and tournament title. The team finished first overall in the Western Conference at 15-6-3 and second overall in MLS NEXT Pro behind Columbus Crew SC (16-3-5). CITY2 tallied the second most wins in the league (15), tied for second most points (49), the most road wins (8), third most goals for (51), seventh least goals allowed (34), tied for third best goal differential (17), tied for sixth most clean sheets (7), while seeing 16 different goal scorers and 13 assist getters.
St. Louis CITY’s aggressive, up-tempo style of play has shown continuity and success, as well, at the academy level. Earlier this year, CITY’s Under-16 and Under-17 teams qualified for the MLS Next playoffs with the U-16 squad reaching the semifinals.
Leverkusen has a long history of attracting talent from the Americas to its roster — including two prominent U.S. National Team stars in Landon Donovan and Claudio Reyna. Donovan played regularly for the club’s reserve team in 1999-2000 and made seven appearances for the top team before being loaned to the San Jose Earthquakes in MLS in 2001. Reyna signed with Leverkusen after being a member of the U.S. squad at the 1994 World Cup. He spent several years in Leverkusen before being loaned to another Bundesliga club in 1997, eventually playing key midfield roles at legendary clubs like Rangers and Manchester City.
Other prominent stars from the Americas to play for Leverkusen include Chicharito, Emerson, Jorginho, Arturo Vidal and Ze Roberto. German legends Rudi Voeller, Ulf Kirsten and Michael Ballack headline the local stars that have worn the black and red-striped kit of Bayer 04.