National goalkeeper Bernd Leno from Arsenal FC looked back on his career so far in the “kicker meets DAZN” podcast. The 29-year-old spoke about his move from VfB Stuttgart to Bayer Leverkusen and his first appearance in the Champions League.
Leno from the Stuttgart youth recommended himself for the professionals of the Swabians, but was not allowed to gain enough experience from the professionals for his taste. He was deported to the second team several times: “I played very well, but was never allowed to train with the professionals. Whatever the reason, I have no idea.”
That was repeated after a pre-season with the first team: He “was then put back into the second team, that was disappointing. The typical excuses came up: ‘You’re young, you have to play.'” Leno himself did on the other hand want to “accept the competition”: “Give me a fair chance. I want to be fully with the professional team and not always be pushed back and forth. ‘”
In August 2011 Bayer Leverkusen initially loaned the 19-year-old, who had not played a competitive game for the VfB professionals – “zack, zack”, Leno recalled – and finally bought him in January 2012 for 7.5 Million euros transfer fee. But things got between the posts much earlier: “One week after the change, I was in the Bundesliga and three weeks later in the Champions League.”
Nevertheless, Leno prevailed in the Werkself in the long term and finally moved to London, to Arsenal FC, in 2018. The current season of the Gunners has been changeable so far: “In autumn we had big problems, a bad atmosphere,” said Leno, but now “we’re at least getting a taste of the Europa League again. The Champions League will be very, very difficult.” Most recently there was a 2-1 in the derby against Tottenham Hotspur.