Bundesliga

Bender extends Leverkusen contract

Leverkusen's midfielder Lars Bender
Bayer Leverkusen's midfielder Lars Bender will remain with the club until 2019.
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LEVERKUSEN, Germany (AP)

BRIDGE TOO FAR?

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Germany midfielder Lars Bender has extended his contract with Bayer Leverkusen by another two years through June 2019.

The Bundesliga club says the 24-year-old Bender's decision to renew his deal well ahead of time is a ''clear signal for the future.''

Bender says Leverkusen has developed ''in a very positive way'' and that ''our team is strong and has the potential to be even better. I want to be part of this history and to play my part in ensuring we establish ourselves among the leading sides.''

Bender has contributed 12 goals and set up 11 more in 115 Bundesliga games for Leverkusen since 2009. His twin brother Sven, also a Germany international, plays for league rival Borussia Dortmund.

Added Bender: "There has been a very positive development here at Bayer Leverkusen in the past few years. Our team is strong and has the potential to improve even further. I want to be part of that story and make my own contribution to ensuring we can become an obvious and permanent member of the leading group.

"I am absolutely committed to Bayer. I feel really good at this club and it's great fun playing here."

Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller added: "Our assessment of Lars four years ago was absolutely spot on when we signed him as a youngster from 1860 Munich.

"He has more than fulfilled our demanding expectations and he has proved to be a great bloke both on and off the pitch in the truest sense of the word. Lars is somebody who can lead the way. A team needs a character like him to be successful in football."

Bender has won 15 caps for Germany, scoring four times.

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