The brothers never wanted to be special. "We only really wanted to play football," said Lars Bender. Even if the twins never saw themselves as something special and behaved accordingly: Their common path is undeniable. "It doesn't happen every day that you manage to get the top has a pair of brothers and stay there for so long," declared Sven Bender looking back at 15 years in professional football.
In the spring of 2021 be carried on as they always have: together. After starting out at TSV Brannenburg and SpVgg Unterhaching, they both played for 1860 Munich and also spent the last four years together at Bayer Leverkusen with Sven also playing for Borussia Dortmund for eight years. Together they made 865 appearances in the top two divisions in Germany, played for their country, won the silver medal side-by-side at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and played their way into the hearts of fans and their coaches with their self-sacrificing style of play. "It was always one of their strengths that they always thought about the team and worked for the team. I was able to rely on both of them at all times," declared the former DFB coach Horst Hrubesch in describing the values of the duo. Hrubesch not only made it to the 2016 Olympic Games final with the Benders but the trio also won the U19 European Championship in the Czech Republic in 2008.
They slid in, directed proceedings, threw themselves in the way and scored important goals for over a decade. "We used to watch the Bundesliga on television when we were kids and dreams of being on the pitch one day or holding up a trophy. We wished for it, hoped for but I would never have dreamt that everything would turn out as it has," said Sven Bender looking back. And a special time is also coming to an end for last: "I played for the two sides who were my favourite clubs as a child."
In the documentary, the Germany coach Joachim Löw reveals why he only took Lars and not Sven Bender to the European Championship in 2012 thereby making possible Lars Bender's spectacular goal against Denmark. Apart from the sporting experiences of the brothers, their not that common down-to-earth quality becomes clear – taking a holistic view and thinking outside the box. "Both have their own personality, their own character – they've always kept it real. And that has always impressed me," admits Jupp Heynckes.
Lars Bender played for the Werkself for a total of twelve years. "Particularly during his most successful periods, Lars again and again received offers from other big clubs – obviously including Bayern Munich," reports Rudi Völler. Lars Bender admits how he dealt with the increased attention on himself around the time of the European Championship in 2012 and why he is happy that he stayed in Leverkusen to this day. "The fact I played so long for one club makes me very proud." And it makes him into a living Leverkusen legend. "He has the Bayer Cross in his heart," said Rudi Völler about the long-serving number 8 who has recently been named as an honorary captain.
Now it is all over. 15 years in professional football have left their mark. "We only have one body," they say in unison. The two of them have accepted that a farewell in front of tens of thousands of spectators is out of the question due to the coronavirus pandemic. But there was an emotional farewell in the end. The documentary shows that first hand.
The following have their say: Martin Feicht (TSV Brannenburg), Rudi Völler, Fernando Carro, Simon Rolfes, Stefan Kießling, Jupp Heynckes, Jürgen Klopp, Horst Hrubesch, Walter Schachner, Marco Kurz, Wolfgang Schellenberg, Julian Baumgartlinger, Kevin Volland, Timo Gebhart, Torben Hoffmann and Florian Weber (Sportfreunde Stiller).
Monster Energy has been a partner in the Sponsors Club at Bayer 04 Leverkusen since the start of the 2023/24 season. Monster Energy has shown their products at Werkself home games on the LED advertising hoardings at the BayArena. Monster Energy activated the next stage of the partnership with the current Bundesliga league leaders for Bayer 04’s home game against Union Berlin in the middle of November. Monster Energy will continue to present themselves as a reliable and ambitious partner to Leverkusen fans through similar promotional events as at the game against Union Berlin.Show more
Bayer 04 involvement with the ‘Kältegang Leverkusen’ project continues this winter. The current Bundesliga league leaders and their fans again presented financial and in-kind donations to the homeless charity at home game against Borussia Dortmund (1-1).Show more
The Werkself remain unbeaten after the 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund on Bundesliga Matchday 13. The one-sided game demanded a lot of strength of nerve and competitive spirit from Xabi Alonso's team. In the end, Victor Boniface rewarded the relentless attacking efforts of the league leaders against passive but efficient visitors. The Werkself review.Show more
Bayer 04 were held to a 1-1 draw by Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 13 in the Bundesliga. Julian Ryerson had put the visitors in front at a sold-out BayArena after only five minutes. Leverkusen would go on to dominate proceedings and finally get their deserved equaliser through Victor Boniface in the 79th minute. It’s a result that extends the Werkself’s unbeaten run in all competitions this season to 20 matches.Show more
For the 17th time, Bayer 04 Sportförderung gGmbH has awarded the Volunteers Award for outstanding commitment to football in Leverkusen and the surrounding region. The three outstanding clubs in 2023 are BSV Roleber 1919, TuS 05 Oberpleis and SV 1924 Glehn. They will each receive prize money of €5,000.Show more