Kai Havertz (r.) is a scholar, gentleman and top footballer, according to Bayer Leverkusen teammate Lars Bender (l). - © imago images / Jan Huebner
Kai Havertz (r.) is a scholar, gentleman and top footballer, according to Bayer Leverkusen teammate Lars Bender (l). - © imago images / Jan Huebner
bundesliga

"Kai Havertz is a blessing!"- Bayer Leverkusen captain Lars Bender

Bayer Leverkusen captain Lars Bender says his team are blessed to have a player of midfielder Kai Havertz's prodigious quality and potential in their ranks.

Bender, 30, had already made 178 Bundesliga appearances when Havertz took his league bow as a 17-year-old against Werder Bremen in October 2016.

After becoming Leverkusen's youngest ever player to appear in the Bundesliga followed by the youngest in the Bundesliga to reach 50 appearances, Havertz made another piece of history last season as the first teenager in German top-flight history to reach 17 goals in a single campaign.

Remarkably, Havertz only turned 20 in June - not that Bender is surprised by the now three-time Germany international's meteoric rise.

"It's an absolute blessing to have such a player in the side," Bender told German sports specialist magazine, kicker. "Back when he was 17, I'd never seen a player that was so far on as Kai."

Watch: All 17 of Kai Havertz's Bundesliga goals in 2018/19

As well as his extraordinary abilities as a footballer, Bender believes Havertz's upbringing and mindset have helped shape the player and person he is today.

"He's just a top guy from head to toe," the Leverkusen skipper explained.

"He's extremely grounded, close to his family, and really appreciates what he's got.

"I don't know how I would have dealt with all the hype when I was his age. I have so much respect for that."

Havertz is gearing up for his fourth season of Bundesliga football, and second bite of the cherry in the UEFA Champions League after Leverkusen clinched a top-four finish on the final day of 2018/19.

The Aachen-born whizz has made 105 first-team appearances for Leverkusen - the club he joined at the age of 11 - including 88 in the Bundesliga. He has registered 28 goals and 22 assists in all competitions.