Bernd, first of all many happy returns and all the best from Leverkusen. How are you spending this special day?
Leno: Thank you. Friends from Germany have come over specially. We’ll definitely drink something, enjoy the time together and have fun.
You've had a good ten years in professional football. How do you look back at your career to date?
Leno: It was a very successful time and I couldn't have imagined that in my dreams. I've won the FA Cup with Arsenal and the Confed Cup with Germany. But it's also clear it's not all over. I hope I've got a few more good years in front of me.
You became a professional player at Leverkusen. What are your memories of your early years at Bayer?
Leno: Only good ones. I can remember the first day exactly: I went into the dressing room and nobody knew who I was. Nevertheless, Kies and Simse (Stefan Kießling and Simon Rolfes, ed.) plus other players gave me a great reception and helped me straightaway. That made it very easy for me. I also felt very welcome by the fans. That helps a young player enormously. So, today I’m very grateful to the fans and the staff at the club.
What are your targets for the future on and off the pitch?
Leno: I want to play professional football at least until my mid 30s – and happily even longer if my body’s up to it. As long as I can enjoy football I'll stick at it and always do my best. Also I want to gain more experience. I'm always open to new adventures – as with this Premier League adventure. Those are experiences for life.
The Werkself are away to Bayern Munich tomorrow. What will be the decisive in this game?
Leno: The lads should play like they have done in the past few weeks – like they did against Dortmund and Bielefeld. Of course, Bayern are very strong but not unbeatable. Bayer are incredibly good in attack, they are comfortable on the ball and well organised. On top of that, there's the individual quality in attack. They've got it all.
The Europa League draw threw up Atalanta and Bayer 04 head to Italy next week. How do you rate the chances for the Werkself in the two Round of 16 games?
Leno: It's a difficult draw, Atalanta were one of the big teams in the draw in my opinion. But if Bayer produce a performance in both games then they should definitely go through. I'm confident.
Finally: What do you wish for in the coming year?
Leno: Good health for everybody and normality again in the world at last.
Bayer 04 welcomed 14 media representatives from Africa on Friday, 1 December. The trip for journalists from the likes of Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mozambique, Togo, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and Togo was organised by the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) with the goal of establishing and promoting Africa as a new target market for the Bundesliga.Show more
Bayer 04 has modernised its media working area in the stands at the BayArena and equipped it with new, multifunctional monitors. The 50 screens will be used for the first time for the fixture against Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 13 in the Bundesliga next Sunday, 3 December (kick-off: 17:30 CET) and offer the media representatives working at the BayArena on matchday numerous possibilities.Show more
Bayer 04 have little time to recover from their 2-0 win away at Häcken in the UEFA Europe League, ensuring progress to the round of 16, before their next challenge up against Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga on Sunday (17:30 CET). At his pre-match press conference on Friday morning, head coach Xabi Alonso spoke about BVB and gave a warning about not losing focus.Show more
Spirits are high at Borussia Dortmund following their impressive display and result away at AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. On Sunday (17:30 CET), they want to keep an impressive week going with another scalp in Leverkusen. Here’s the lowdown on our next opponents.Show more