By Stefan Doering
Sidney Sam and Philipp Wollscheid have stressed the importance for Bayer Leverkusen to replace star winger Andre Schurrle.
The 22-year-old joined Chelsea for an undisclosed fee last month after a stellar season for the Bundesliga side, and his former team-mates are under no illusions as to how tough it will be to fill the void following his departure.
“One thing is for sure, Andre was a great player," Sam told Goal. "The club will do everything possible to compensate for this departure and have already bought some players. Now we need to stand out to other players."
“He was one of our service providers but that is just the way it goes in football," Wollscheid added.
“With Heung-Min Son and Robbie Kruse we have signed two good guys and are very excited about it. But nonetheless, the club says, and as is read in the media, two, three or four new players will be bought. I feel this is necessary.
“The schedule [next season] is heavier and it will not be possible in the Champions League to use players who have not played so often, as we did last year in the Europa League. Therefore, we must strengthen the quality of our squad."
Leverkusen secured a return to Europe's premier competition after their third-placed finish last season, and Sam is hopeful the group-stage draw is kind to them.
“Of course we want easier opponents. While it’s nice to play against Real Madrid or any other club of this calibre, I would rather play the simpler opponents. That’s obvious," he said.
“We will see during the day of the draw, but they will definitely be exciting games and it is our job to fine-tune the team to win in order to deliver the best possible performances so we can move into the next round," added Wollscheid.