The truth lies on the pitch

August 19, 2009 was a special day for Lars Bender. The transfer to Bundesliga club Bayer 04 Leverkusen not only marked the start of a new episode in his football career but also in his private life. Lars Bender was to leave Brannenburg, a place that had secured a firm place in his heart. If you ask him what he particularly likes about his home in Upper Bavaria, he’ll tell you that it’s first and foremost the people. “We return to Brannenburg as often as possible to spend time with our friends and family – we can properly switch off here,” comments Lars, adding “the people here still just treat us like we’re normal rather than primarily as professional sportspeople”. If you go looking for Lars Bender when he has time off, you’ll most likely find him at a bathing lake with his friends or mountain biking in the nearby Alps. Lars likes this authenticity and it rubs off on him. It makes him a down-to-earth, ambitious athlete who relentlessly follows his aims. His transfer to Bayer 04 Leverkusen and his physical separation from his home environment were challenging times for him, both in football and private terms. Despite this, Lars emphasises: “In almost every interview we ever do, we’re asked whether, as twins, we initially found it hard to be separated from each other. I can only say one thing in response: we were both 20 years old and accordingly independent. It was naturally a little odd at first but we’re both able to travel and have mobile phones. The time simply comes when you have to take this step.

Lars has been captain of the Werkself since the 2015/16 season. “I was delighted when the trainer selected me as captain. This role shows me just how much confidence the club has in me.” Lars will continue to lead the team on the pitch over the next few years too. His aims are to achieve further personal development, take the next steps in his sporting career and enjoy the greatest possible level of success with his club.