Lars Bender has revealed that Bayer Leverkusen blocked a possible summer transfer to Bayern Munich.
The Germany international was reported to be close to a 22-million-euro move to the 21-time Bundesliga champions, despite signing a new contract with Bayer in March 2012.
But he has admitted that his current club stopped him from talking to the Allianz Arena outfit about a transfer.
“I called a few times in the summer with Bayern but Bayer blocked the topic very quickly. Thus, the issue for me was off the table,” he told Express.de.
“A request from Bayern makes you proud. But I had just extended my contract in Leverkusen in 2017 and you do not know if it would be the right club for you.”
The midfielder’s failure to secure a move meant he was unable to play alongside international partner Bastian Schweinsteiger at club level, but Bender was happy to receive praise from the 28-year-old after the Bayern Munich midfielder had said that Germany would have beaten Sweden in their epic 4-4 draw during the last round of World Cup qualifiers, if Bender had been playing.
“I was not there. But if that is what he said, it makes me naturally proud. It shows that I have not done so much wrong in my career so far,” he said.
“When a player like Schweinsteiger says so, that is an honour for me.”
The 23-year-old is yet to win a Bundesliga title at Leverkusen, with twin brother Sven already the owner of two championship medals with Borussia Dortmund.
But Bender believes that it is only a matter of time before he begins to catch his sibling up in the silverware stakes.
“A title is a dream of every player. In our team, it’s really what’s inside. So far we have not got over the final hurdle. But it is a must for the club and we must get there soon,” he said.
“I can catch him up. But I do not grudge him the trophies. We both know that we must be thankful that we can both live our dream. It’s wonderful that we’re both so successful.”