Lars Bender flattered by Bayern Munich interest

The 23-year-old is pleased that his performances have been recognised by some of Europe's biggest clubs, but is targetting a starting role in the national set-up
Versatile Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender is pleased by the reported interest shown in him by Bayern Munich, but wants to focus on breaking into the international set-up and honouring his contract at the BayArena.

The 23-year-old alerted several of Europe's major clubs with a number of impressive performances for club and country throughout last season, including Jupp Heynckes' side.

"It is an honour for me that the greatest German club has expressed an interest. But I have a contract at Leverkusen, and that is all that counts," Bender explained to Die Welt.

After failing to lure Bender to the Allianz Arena, Javi Martinez was brought in as a €40 million (£31.7m) acquisition by die Roten, and the Bayer starlet was keen to point out the increasing importance of a holding midfielder in the modern game.

"Our type of player is really important, because we are the link between defence and attack," he continued. "This type of player has always been important. But today it is even more so because the game has gotten better and faster.

"Xabi Alonso, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira are world class. From them I can learn a lot."

With two of his idols currently occupying starting roles in Joachim Low's national line-up, Bender knows that it will be difficult to stake a claim for a regular role, but he is willing to seize the moments should the opportunity arise.

"Of course I love to play always. But in the German national team we have a lot of good football players. I think I have gained a good standing after the European Championship. If I am perfect over a long period of time, I will surely get my chance," he added.

"I want to present myself to the coach in the best possible way."

Bender also spoke of his disappointment at losing the semi-final of Euro 2012, but stated that he is determined to make amends by helping die Mannschaft to success in their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

"We deserved to lose against Italy. That was disappointing to many, because the qualification was so impressive. But it's over. Now all that counts are the qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup."

Germany kick-off their campaign against the Faroe Islands in Hanover on Friday night.