Michael Ballack, René Adler, Sebastian Boenisch and many other teammates have sent emotional and humorous messages to Lars and Sven Bender in the past few days. Bayer 04 homegrown player Gonzalo Castro played alongside the two Benders – up to 2015 at Leverkusen with Lars, from 2015 to 2017 at Borussia Dortmund with Sven. The 33-year-old declared: “It was a massive honour to play with the two of you. I’d just like to say thank you.”
Hans-Peter Lehnhoff accompanied Lars Bender on his move to Bayer 04 in 2009. Sven Bender grew on the 57-year-old over the past four years. The Werkself team liaison manager: “I’d like to thank you for the wonderful years we’ve experienced together. You were two key players who have shaped our game over the years and also always given everything for this club. I wish you all the best for the future!”
Bayer 04 TV will present lots more messages ahead of the game in Dortmund at bayer04.de.
And the youngest players at Bayer 04 also want to say #DankeLars and #DankeSven – and they have come up with a really special idea: The U8 team have been busy with their art materials this week and have composed colourful words for Lars and Sven Bender. The outcome was messages to the twins in seven different languages. The youngsters came up with the idea themselves. Great work, lads!
In terms of the league table, both BVB and the Werkself have already achieved their minimum targets in the Bundesliga ahead of the final matchday: Dortmund are in the Champions League, Bayer 04 in the Europa League. The sideshows on Saturday afternoon have become the big story. And, looking at the protagonists, justifiably so.
BVB will say farewell to long-serving players Lukasz Piszczek and Marcel Schmelzer, the Bayer 04 management said farewell to a trio ahead of the home game against Union Berlin (1-1): Lars and Sven Bender plus the head physiotherapist Sven Elsinger. For one Black and Red, the clash at Signal Iduna Park is also very special for another reason…
It’s another of those stories only found in football: In the last match of his career, the two teams face other that most shaped the playing career of Sven Bender. After playing alongside his twin brother Lars at TSV 1860 Munich, he signed for Dortmund in 2009. He stayed for eight years before Bayer came calling.
What is the direct comparison for Sven Bender in black and yellow or in black and red against each of the two clubs? The Rosenheim-born player played for BVB seven times against Bayer 04 between 2009 and 2016 in defensive midfield. Dortmund won four games (2 draws, 1 defeat).
After Sven’s move to Leverkusen in the summer of 2017 – in contrast to his time at BVB (9 games against Bayer 04 without playing) – up to this season’s return game against Dortmund he was on the pitch for 90 minutes in every game. A draw and four defeats for the Red and Blacks were followed by the 4-3 home win in February 2020 in one of the most emotional wins of recent years. Lars Bender headed the winner late on to secure three points for the Werkself. It was only one of many special moments with the departing twin, which will be remembered for a long time by all Leverkusen supporters after the final act in Dortmund on Saturday…
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