4.03.2022Bayer 04

Leno on early years at Bayer: 'Nobody knew who I was'

Bernd Leno celebrates his 30th birthday today, Friday 4 March. On this occasion, we have asked the Arsenal player, who played in goal for the Werkself from 2011 to 2018, a number of questions. The former Leverkusen keeper talked about his first day at Bayer and his targets for the future.

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.

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