Lars Bender surgery deepens Leverkusen's injury problems

Leverkusen's Lars Bender, right, challenged by Schalke's Bastian Oczipka during their German Bundesliga soccer match at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Sunday Dec. 6, 2020.

LEVERKUSEN, Germany (AP) — Bayer Leverkusen's stuttering pursuit of the Champions League places took another blow Tuesday when defender Lars Bender was ruled out until the end of March following surgery on his right knee.

Leverkusen said Bender is not expected to return until after the international break late next month. The right back last played on Jan. 23 against Wolfsburg, injuring a muscle and damaging meniscus tissue in his knee. The damage to the meniscus worsened and required the operation on Friday and a longer period on the sidelines.

That comes after goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky was ruled out Monday until late March after injuring his Achilles tendon in a game on Feb. 13. He is likely to miss the start of Finland's World Cup qualifying campaign next month.

Leverkusen led the Bundesliga standings in mid-December but has since slid to fifth after a poor run, including one win from its last five league games. Leverkusen plays Swiss club Young Boys in the Europa League on Thursday, aiming to overturn a 4-3 loss from the first leg.

———

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Real Names required. No pseudonyms or partial names allowed. Stand behind what you post.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.