Lars Bender is the twin brother of Borussia Dortmund's Sven Bender, with whom he is also a rival for a place in Germany's UEFA EURO 2012 squad. The Bayer 04 Leverkusen midfielder has enjoyed a progressive 2011/12 season with the Rhineland side, not least in his debut UEFA Champions League campaign.
• Came up through the ranks at TSV 1860 München alongside brother Sven before making his professional debut in Germany's second division with the Bavarian club.
• A German youth international at every age level, he represented his country at the 2006 UEFA European Under-17 Championship in Luxembourg and was a winner of the equivalent U19 tournament two years later in the Czech Republic.
• Scored four goals in 58 2. Bundesliga appearances for 1860 München before leaving to join Leverkusen in August 2009 (as his twin left for Dortmund).
• Helped Leverkusen to a runners-up spot behind Dortmund in 2010/11, albeit chiefly as a substitute, before establishing himself as a regular under new coach Robin Dutt in 2011/12, starting all six UEFA Champions League group games and scoring his first European goal in a 2-0 victory over KRC Genk at the BayArena.
• Won his first senior cap for Germany as a late substitute in a September 2011 friendly against Poland in Gdansk; did likewise in subsequent friendlies against Ukraine, the Netherlands and France.
UEFA European Under-19 Championship: winner 2008