International Soccer - Germany

Bender agrees to new Leverkusen deal

Leverkusen, Germany ( - Bayer Leverkusen announced Thursday that midfielder Lars Bender has signed a contract extension that ties him to the Bundesliga club until 2019.

The 24-year-old's existing deal had been due to expire in 2017, but Leverkusen has opted to extend his contract in a bid to deter potential suitors such as Bayern Munich, which made an approach last summer.

"Lars Bender has come on leaps and bounds at (Bayer Leverkusen) and now plays for Germany as a full international," managing director Michael Schade said on the club's official website. "He is a key player in our team and also an absolute top hit with the Werkself fans."

Bender has accumulated 15 caps for the German national team since making his debut in 2011.

10/31 15:59:15 ET