Brave Bender hailed after nose break
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Sven Bender has been praised by his teammates after finishing 90 minutes against Napoli despite breaking his nose.
Bender, nicknamed Manni, suffered the injury early on in the Champions League encounter but after receiving treatment remained on the pitch to help Dortmund to a vital 3-1 victory.
The Germany international was bleeding heavily through the game and he needed to change his shirt several times, with the backroom staff eventually required to stock up on replacement jerseys from the club shop.
Dortmund fans have built a shrine in Bender’s honour after his latest display of courage -- the midfielder has a reputation for playing through injuries -- with teammates also impressed by his resilience.
“He is an exceptional professional. How he threw himself into the tackles and the headers with his broken nose deserves the biggest respect,” goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller said.
“Chuck Norris is nothing compared to Sven Bender,” Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc told Bild after watching the brave performance of Bender, who was also playing out of position at centre-back in place of the injured Neven Subotic and Mats Hummels, as well as the unavailable Manuel Friedrich.
Coach Juergen Klopp added: “Manni embodies everything what our game is about and what we have shown in the last couple of years: the willingness to push yourself to your physical limits. He has an exceptional character.”
Bender is set to return to the Dortmund midfield at Mainz on Saturday and will play without a mask despite his broken nose.
“I have not suffered any head injuries in nearly a year,” Bender told Bild. “That’s half an eternity for me. I ran out of luck now. The problem wasn’t the broken nose, but the bleeding. It just did not stop.
“My girlfriend has gotten used to it. She is just delighted if she can recognise me after my head injuries.”
Bild also published a picture of Bender’s head, signaling the various head injuries the Dortmund midfielder suffered over the course of the last three years, labeling his “the hardest skull in the league.”