With more than three seasons of his existing deal still to run, Lars Bender has signed a two-year contract extension at Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
Bender's previous terms were due to expire in 2017, but the club were keen to send "a clear signal for the future" by tying down the Germany midfielder. Sporting director Rudi Völler explained: "We were spot on with our predictions about Lars when we signed him as a young player from 1860 München.
"He has more than fulfilled our high expectations and both on and off the pitch he has shown himself to be a strong person. Lars is a leader. Every team needs a character like that to play successful football."
The 24-year-old, who has made 115 Bundesliga appearances for the Werkself, added: "Something really positive has developed over the last few years at Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Our team is strong and has the potential to be even better.
"I want to be part of that history and contribute to making us one of the regular leading teams. Leverkusen have become a real passion of mine. I am happy at this club and I love playing here."
Leverkusen are second in UEFA Champions League Group A, a point adrift of leaders Manchester United FC ahead of their matchday four trip to FC Shakhtar Donetsk.
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