Lars Bender (born 27 April 1989) is a German footballer who plays as a right back or defensive midfielder for Bayer Leverkusen. He was raised in Brannenburg, city in the district of Rosenheim. He is the twin brother of Sven Bender, who also plays for Bayer Leverkusen.
Lars Bender played from 1993 to 1999 in the youth of the TSV Brannenburg, from 1999 to 2002 he was part of SpVgg Unterhaching youth teams. In summer 2002, he moved to the 1860 München youth team.
In August 2006, Bender played his first game for 1860 Munich II in the Regionalliga Süd. In October, he was an unused substitute in the 1860 Munich senior team, and on 27 November 2006, when he was 17 years old, he made his professional debut at the home game against the TuS Koblenz in the 2. Bundesliga. In his first professional season, he played 13 matches, nine of them in the starting lineup. In this season, Bender won the Fritz-Walter trophy, ahead of then Mönchengladbach’s Marko Marin and his twin brother, Sven Bender. In his second season, he was a regular player in the defensive midfield. On the first day of the new season, he scored his first goal. Bender started 2008–09 season again as a regular player. In the second league game against FSV Frankfurt on 3 October 2008, he took over the captaincy and was at 19 the youngest captain in the history of the 1860 Munich, but on 20 October he was seriously injured and after a number of injuries, he finished that season with only 15 matches played. In his three professional seasons played for 1860 München in the 2. Bundesliga, he played 58 games and scored four goals.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen
On 18 August 2009, Bender signed a three-year contract with Bayer Leverkusen. He played his first match in the Bundesliga coming off the bench on Matchday 6 and was used as a substitute in most of 20 games he played during his first season in Bayer Leverkusen. He scored his first goal in the Bundesliga against Eintracht Frankfurt on 16 September, an eventual 4–0 win. In the following season, his position in the defensive midfield remained competitive and he was often second choice, but he played 27 matches and scored three goals. In the 2011–12 season, he was a regular player and played most of the games over the full season, only interrupted by a forced break for a muscle bundle crack injury in the spring of 2012. On 21 March 2012, Bender signed a new contract with Leverkusen to 2018. In the 2012–13 Bundesliga season, he played 33 games, scored 3 goals and made 6 assists. On 31 October 2013, he extended his contract with Leverkusen until 2019.
In the 2013–14 season, he played 29 games and scored three goals in the Bundesliga, despite being injured for the most of September and October and again in the spring of 2014. In the 2014–2015 season, e returned to the field and played 26 games in Bundesliga, scoring one goal against SC Paderborn 07. In UEFA Champions League he helped Leverkusen finish runner-up in the group stage behind AS Monaco but later lost to Atlético Madrid in the Round of 16. For season 2015/16 coach Roger Schmidt appointed him as the new team captain in place of Simon Rolfes, who had ended his career after the end of the preseason. This season is a struggle for him, after had long time injury in October 2015 until March 2016, and he’s only got 10 appearances in Bundesliga and made a pair appearances in Champions League. Bender abdicated the captaincy prior to the 2020–21 season due to his ongoing injury issues, passing the role over to Charles Aránguiz. He announced retirement from football after the end of the 20/21 season along with his brother.