Lars Bender and his twin brother Sven are to start a league game together for the first time since 2009 when Bayer Leverkusen host Freiburg on Sunday.

Lars has shaken off a nagging ankle problem that has so far prevented him from playing alongside brother Sven, who joined Leverkusen from Borussia Dortmund in the summer, and Bayer boss Heiko Herrlich has opted for both Benders in his starting XI at the first opportunity.

The Benders, 28, were part of Germany's silver medal-winning squad at the 2016 summer Olympics, but last appeared together at club level for boyhood club 1860 Munich some eight years ago in Bundesliga 2.

Both left the Bavarian capital in summer 2009, with Lars eventually assuming the role of captain at Leverkusen and Sven winning back-to-back Bundesliga titles with Dortmund. Between them, they have made 344 Bundesliga appearances to date.

I've always said that we'd love to play together again for the same team again, but I thought it'd be towards the end of our careers," Lars admitted. "It's great Sven's here."

Leverkusen are still searching for their first win Bundesliga win under new head coach Herrlich, following defeats to Bayern Munich and Mainz and a draw with Hoffenheim.

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