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Germany midfielder Bender extends Leverkusen deal to 2019

Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender tackles Schalke 04's Sead Kolasinac (R) during their German first division Bundesliga soccer match in Gelsenk
Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender tackles Schalke 04's Sead Kolasinac (R) during their German first division Bundesliga soccer match in Gelsenk

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany international Lars Bender has extended his contract at Bayer Leverkusen by two more years to 2019, the club said on Thursday.

The versatile midfielder is a contender for a spot in Germany's 2014 World Cup squad along with twin brother Sven, who plays for Borussia Dortmund.

"We made the right decision when we brought him from 1860 Munich to us four years ago," said Leverkusen sports director Rudi Voller.

"He has more than met the high expectations and is also off the pitch a strong character. You need such a character to be successful in football."

The 24-year-old, who joined Leverkusen in 2009, has also won 15 caps and scored four goals for Germany, since first being called up in 2011.

"I want to add my part to the story here in Leverkusen and contribute to establishing ourselves for the long term in the top group of teams," said Bender.

Leverkusen, who compete in this season's Champions League, are third in the Bundesliga, a point behind leaders Bayern Munich.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Alison Wildey)

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