Piero Hincapie: Leverkusen wonderkid dubbed 'South America's best young defender'

 The 19-year-old shone at the Copa America for Ecuador before the Bundesliga outfit beat off strong competition to sign him for €6m over the summer

When Bayern Munich beat Bayer Leverkusen 5-1 in a top-of-the-table Bundesliga clash on October 17, it was seen as just another example of how big the gap is between the German champions and the rest.

What was largely ignored, however, was just how well Leverkusen had done to find themselves going toe-to-toe with Bayern in the early weeks of the campaign, particularly at the back.

The retirements of the Bender twins, Sven and Lars, and the departure of defensive leader Alesksandar Dragovic, left gaps for director of football Simon Rolfes to fill over the summer.