What the papers say: 'Just like a Hollywood control room'

The result took second place following the 3-1 defeat for Bayer 04 at Borussia Dortmund in the final Bundesliga match of the 2020/21 season. The focus of the match reports is on the moving scenes surrounding the departure of the Bender twins.

Welt am Sonntag quotes the BVB captain Marco Reus, who included the two Werkself players in his eulogy for Lukasz Piszczek, who was also making the final appearance of his playing career: "We've had lots of emotional moments with Lukasz, Lars and Sven. They are players who have made an incredible impression with their careers."

The Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger headline above their online report reads, "The legacy of the Benders." The Leverkusen goal is described as followed: And then followed a scene from the Bundesliga Hollywood control room ahead of the goal to make it 3-1: On 88 minutes, Emre Can stood on the foot of the Leverkusen player Patrik Schick in the penalty area. In his final Bundesliga fixture, the popular Manuel Gräfe had the opportunity to award a penalty. He took it. The Leverkusen bench reacted quickly. Coach Hannes Wolf gave Lars Bender a position on the bench following his knee operation with a view to a final few seconds in the Bundesliga. And they came: The former captain came on for his brother in a Bayer shirt for the 342nd time and coolly slotted the penalty into the net for his 27th goal. He survived the rest of the match with his knackered knee."

Anticipation ahead of the perfect sign-off: Lars Bender with his penalty.

The online edition of the Rheinische Post looks at the moving moments after the game: "After the last final whistle of his career, Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender forged a bridge between football and society. His words show how much he and his brother Sven will be missed in the professional game in future. …'A football team is a symbol of what society should look like: standing together, standing up for each other and having a common target,' declared the 32 year-old. 'And it doesn't matter at all who is sitting next to you, what he looks like, where he comes from, which religion and views he has or his cultural background – stand together and refuse to be divided is the message I'd like to pass on. That is what I take with me from my career. That's the most important thing.'"

The kicker says he found "impressive words" and the headline in their online report is: "A fairy tale farewell: Lars Bender shares an emotional final plea."

A signal ahead of the Euros: Julian Baumgartlinger comes off the bench.

Bild online deals with two other Bayer 04 players who made their comebacks after long lay-offs. "There was Paulinho: The Brazilian played his first match since 20 June 2020. Ten days later, he suffered a torn cruciate and missed the cup final and was sidelined for almost eleven months. He was in the starting line-up against BVB as the centre forward. Paulinho almost levelled at 1-1 and was also very lively otherwise. [...] There was also good news with Julian Baumgartlinger caming on just before the end of the game. The Austria captain also suffered a torn cruciate on 19 January. His rehab went much quicker than Paulinho's. 'Incredible that it's only four months ago,' said coach Wolf. For Baumgartlinger it is a very important step in view of the forthcoming Euros, which the Austria coach Franco Foda ('I'm in constant contact with Julian') will have been very relieved about."


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