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Leverkusen’s Bender twins to retire at end of season

Germany’s famous footballing twins Lars and Sven Bender will hang up their boots at the end of the season when their Bayer Leverkusen contracts expire, the Bundesliga club said on Monday.

While Lars has been at Leverkusen since 2009 and was also the club’s captain before he handed the armband to Charles Aranguiz this season, Sven joined the club in 2017 after spending eight years at Borussia Dortmund.

The former Germany internationals, who turn 32 in April, said they did not feel they would be able to continue playing consistently at the same “high level” next season after sustaining various injuries in recent years.

“We felt a responsibility to the club to inform them of this decision in good time,” the twins said in a statement.”This decision has been anything but easy not least because of the honest, fair and understanding relationship with the Leverkusen club management in the past and right up to today. Bayer 04 now have time to plan and that was important to us.

“At the end of the day, it was not a decision against the club but about health and family. We recognise it will be difficult to play football at this high level beyond the summer.”

The club’s sporting director Rudi Voeller praised their professionalism and commitment over the years and hoped they could sign off in memorable fashion with the club competing on three fronts.

Leverkusen are second in the standings heading into the winter break, two points behind leaders and defending champions Bayern Munich, while they are also through to the Europa League knockout stage and second round of the domestic cup.

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“We need their qualities in the remaining six months to achieve our big targets. Exactly that ambition is evident in both of them who always give 100% right to the end,” Voeller added.

“And regarding Lars, I’ve hardly seen another player at Leverkusen who has identified so much with Bayer 04. We owe Lars a huge amount of gratitude.”

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