Days after agreeing new terms with Germany midfielder Lars Bender, Bayer 04 Leverkusen have extended goalkeeper Bernd Leno's deal by one year, tying him down until June 2018.
"Two years ago, when I was a 19-year-old third division keeper, Bayer 04 Leverkusen made me the No1 at a Champions League club," said the German Under-21 international, who put in an exceptional performance as Leverkusen held on for a 0-0 Group A draw at FC Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday. "I was so impressed with the amount of faith put in me back then. I am extremely grateful."
Bayer sporting director Rudi Völler sees the contract extension as another significant element in the construction of a strong team. "The boy is one of the best goalkeepers in Germany," he explained. "He shows that week after week. He remains very cool and collected for a keeper his age and doesn't let anything rattle him in a game. When you consider he is still a long way from reaching his potential, having someone like him in our ranks is fantastic."
The 21-year-old Leno cost €7m when joining Leverkusen from VfB Stuttgart in September 2011, despite never having made a top-flight appearance. Since then he has produced impressive displays in both the Bundesliga and the UEFA Champions League, becoming regarded as a strong candidate to succeed Manuel Neuer as his country's first-choice custodian.
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