He's self-critical, and incredibly fair. The "iron man" takes on fractures and blows like almost no other, and never ducks out of a challenge. Sven something.
Bender is unusually hard on himself. He is uncompromising on the pitch, but plays fairly, making him a valuable sporting role model (he received only twelve yellow cards in 133 Bundesliga matches). Sadly he missed out on the 2014 World Cup due to injury; otherwise he would have had the chance to become a World Cup champion.
Bender doesn't let that get him down. "I have to accept it," he said, and added: "It's no good dwelling on a missed World Cup. I have to accept that I've had difficult times in my career due to injury. But I'm a positive person, and confident that the sun will shine for me again soon." This is at least the case in his private life: during the summer of 2015 he married his long-standing partner Simone.
As "Manni" launches himself into the air at full force, he terrifies those worried for the safety of their unscarred noses. "He goes for balls with his head in a way that I never could, not even with my feet," says Nuri Shahin, acknowledging Bender's madness. His commitment is another of his biggest strengths. On average he covers over twelve kilometers per game, which is more than can be said for any other Borussia Dortmund player.
He is skillful on the pitch and has a feel for time and space. He is technically sharp and plays a huge part in the build-up of the game through his precise passing. His physical play and his ruthlessness, that're often more detrimental to his own body than to others', rounds off Bender's role as an absolute team player. It's as though Bender feels no pain, the way he never shies away from anything. The newspaper "Süddeutsche Zeitung" appropriately labelled him a "Ball-seizing Monster."
But, he's not the only monster of his kind. Sven has a brother Lars at Bayer Leverkusen. The brothers are only twelve minutes apart in age, and just under 80 kilometers apart in driving distance. This doesn't stop them from meeting several times a week.
Aged four, the twins discovered their passion for football. They played for their home team, TSV Brannenburg, for six years, before moving together to SpVgg. Unterhaching in 1999. 2002 brought the move to the youth division of 1860 Munich, and the aim to become a professional footballer. Sven Bender: "We already had this goal as kids. We sacrificed a lot. We had to put all of our eggs in one basket."
With both brothers in midfield, the U17 "Lions" became German champions in 2005/2006 (after a 2-0 win against Borussia Dortmund). After a few appearances in the regional league, Sven Bender performed his professional debut, one month after Lars, in a home game against Erzgebirge Aue on 18th December 2006. Both players also played for the U19 national team, which won the title at the 2008 European Championships in the Czech Republic.