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Best Bayer Leverkusen Defenders of all time

Thu 01 April 2021 | 5:30

The Bundesliga title still alludes the 2001-02 great Bayer Leverkusen side; however, a star-studded cast of legendary talent certainly does not. Read on to find out about the best Bayer Leverkusen defenders of all time.

Bayer Leverkusen

is a German club which is regarded as one of the most prominent clubs of its nation. Bayer was founded in 1904, and first promoted to the top tier of German football,

Bundesliga

, in 1979. They have been competing in the league ever since and have never been relegated.

Bayer has been runner-up in the Bundesliga for five times without ever achieving the trophy, which is a unique record. However, the club won 1 DFB-Pokal (German Cup) in 1992-93season, as well as 1 UEFA Cup in 1988.

Moreover, Bayer reached the Champions League final in 2002, where they lost 2-1 to

Real Madrid

. Over the years, a great deal of defenders has played for the club that will always be remembered by the fans.

Best Bayer Leverkusen defenders of all time:

There is a list of some of the mentioned defenders, considered as best Bayer Leverkusen defenders of all time, who have left unforgettable memories with their stunning performances for the club.

Lars Bender

  • Full name: Lars Bender

  • Date of birth: 27 April 1989 (age 32)

  • Place of birth: Rosenheim, West Germany

  • Height: 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)

  • Position(s): Right back, defensive midfielder

Lars Bender, born 27 April 1989, is a German footballer who plays as a right back or defensive midfielder for Bayer Leverkusen. He was raised in Brannenburg city in the district of Rosenheim. He is the twin brother of Sven Bender, who also plays for Bayer Leverkusen.

Bender, who is still playing for the club, is regarded as one of the

best ever Bayer Leverkusen defenders

. After spending 4 years with 1860 Munich youth teams, where he won the UNDER-17 Bundesliga title, and 3 years with their senior team playing in the 2nd Bundesliga, he joined Bayer Leverkusen in 2009 and never looked back.

He has made 341 appearances for Leverkusen so far, placing him 9th among the club's most capped players ever. Moreover, the versatile player has scored 26 goals and provided 36 assists during the last 12 years for his club. Moreover, he has played for German national team in every youth level as well as senior team.

He was a part of the squad that won the UNDER-19 European championship in 2009, where he and his twin brother, Sven Bender, were jointly named as the players of the tournament. Widely considered as one of the best Leverkusen defenders ever, he won the Olympics Silver Medal in 2016. 

Furthermore, Bender has appeared in 19 matches for German national team, including taking part in EURO 2012. He is renowned for his ability in reading the game, tackling and getting back ball possession as well as his great passing.

Jan Heintze

  • Full name: Jan Heintze Larsen

  • Date of birth: 17 August 1963 (age 57)

  • Place of birth: Tarnby, Denmark

  • Height: 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)

  • Position(s): Left-back

Jan Heintze, born 17 August 1963, is a Danish former professional footballer who played as a left-sided defensive midfielder and defender. He started and ended his career in the

Netherlands

with

PSV Eindhoven

, where he was a part of the PSV team which won the 1988 European Cup.

Heintze is widely considered as one of the best Danish defenders in history, one of the best defenders Bayer Leverkusen defenders of all time, and one of the mist decorated player in Netherlands' domestic tournaments.

Although Heinteze has achieved all of his club trophies with the Dutch club PSV Eindhoven, he is also remembered for his 3-year spell with Bayer Leverkusen. He joined the club in 1996 from the other German club, Bayer Uerdingen.

He stayed at "BayArena" for 3 seasons, and finished in the Bundesliga top-3 teams in all of those seasons, including 2 times being runner-up. Moreover, Heintze played for PSV Eindhoven during 2 spells for a total of 16 years. The offensive-minded left back helped the Dutch club secure 9 Eredivisie (Dutch League) titles, 3 KNVB Cups (Dutch Cup), 3 Dutch Super Cups and most notably, the European champions clubs' Cup in 1988 with PSV in total.

Regarded as one of the

best defenders in Bayer Leverkusen history

, Heintze has made 86 appearances for his national team, including participating in 2 World Cups and 2 EUROs. Heintze was

Denmark

's first Captain in 2002 World Cup due to the legendary Peter Schmeichel's international retirement in the previous year. Moreover, He is the 13th most-capped player in the history of his national team.

Jorginho

  • Full name: Jorge de Amorim Campos

  • Date of birth: 17 August 1964 (age 57)

  • Place of birth: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • Height: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)

  • Position(s): Right back

Jorge de Amorim Campos, born 17 August 1964, better known as Jorginho, is a Brazilian football manager and former player who played mainly as a right back.

Jorginho is widely regarded as one of the best Brazilian defenders in history, one of the best full backs of his generation and one of the

best Bayer Leverkusen defenders of all time

.

He played for

America-RJ

and Flamengo, where he managed to win 1 Brazilian Serie A and 1 Campeonato Carioca trophy (the championship of the state of Rio de Janeiro), he moved to Germany to play for Bayer Leverkusen. Jorginho spent 3 seasons with the club and made unforgettable performances.

In total, he played in 101 matches, scored 10 goals and provided 2 assists for Leverkusen. In 1992, he seized the chance of moving to the most prominent club in Germany and made a move to

Bayern Munich

, where he claimed the Bundesliga title in 1994.

Within 3 years at the club, he appeared in 80 games for Bayern, scored 6 goals and provided 17 assists. Jorginho surprisingly joined the Japanese club, Kashima Antlers and stayed there for 5 years, more than any other club in his professional career.

With Kashima, Jorginho achieved 2 Japanese League titles (J.League), 1 Japanese Cup, 1 Japanese League Cup as well as 1 Japanese Super Cup. Additionally, he was named the J League's Best Player of the Year in his very first season in Japan. Jorginho came back to Brazil in 2000, and played for Sao Paulo, Fluminense and Vasco de Gama.

He won the second Brazilian League's title of his career with Vasco in 2000. Furthermore, Jorginho has also had a glittering career with Brazil on international scene. He has made a total of 64 appearances for Selecao, including taking part in 1990 and 1994 World Cup.

He won the latter (1994 WC) with Brazil, as well as being named in the tournament's all-star team, while he was a Bayer Leverkusen player. Moreover, Jorginho also won the U-20 World Cup and claimed the Olympics Silver medal in 1988 with his national team.

Commonly known as one of the all-time best defenders at Bayer Leverkusen, he was included in FIFA XI in 1991. He was renowned for his innate technical aptitude and diligence.

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Bayern Munich Top Scorers of All Time

Boris Zizkovic

  • Date of birth: 15 November 1975 (age 46)

  • Place of birth: Živinice, SR Bosnia, SFR Yugoslavia

  • Height: 1.82 m (5 ft 11 1⁄2 in)

  • Position(s): Full-back

Boris Zivkovic, born 15 November 1975 is a former Croatian footballer of Bosnian Croat descent. He played as right and left full-back and center-back. At one point of his career he even played as defensive midfielder.

Zizkovic was a Croatian player of Bosnian Croat descent. He is known as one of the

all-time best Bayer Leverkusen defenders

and one of the greatest defenders in the history of his national team.

After making his debut and playing for 3 clubs in his homeland, Zizkovic joined Bayer Leverkusen in 1997 to have a 6-year spell at BayArena. He appeared in 211 matches for the club, and helped them reach the 2002 Champions League final.

However, they lost 2-1 to Real Madrid. After leaving Leverkusen he played for the English Club

Portsmouth

,

VfB Stuttgart

and

FC Koln

until he finally transferred to the Croatian club Hajduk Split to spend the last 3 years of his career.

Moreover, he has made 39 appearances for Coatian national team, including participating in 2002 World Cup and EURO 2004. He is deservedly considered as one of the most consistent and one of the best Bayer Leverkusen defenders ever.

Alois Reinhardt

  • Date of birth: 18 November 1961 (age 60)

  • Place of birth: Höchstadt, West Germany

  • Height: 1.79 m (5 ft 10 in)

  • Position(s): Defender

Alois Reinhardt, born 18 November 1961 in Höchstadt, is a German football coach and a former player.

Reinhardt was a German center back who played for

FC Nurnberg

, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich. He is regarded as one of the best ever Bayer Leverkusen defenders.

Reinhardt joined Leverkusen in 1984, after spending 5 years with FC Nurnberg where he helped them the final of DFB-Pokal in 1982. However, they finished as runner-up due to their 4-2 defeat to Bayern Munich.

He made 188 appearances for Leverkusen, and played a pivotal role in winning the UEFA Cup in 1988, as the first and yet, only international achievement of Bayer Leverkusen. He decided to move to Bayern Munich in 1991 after spending 7 years at BayArena and proving himself to be among best Bayer Leverkusen defenders of all time with his stunning performances on the pitch.

However, it was not considered as successful experience as he was not getting enough chances to play. With Bayern Munich he finished the Bundesliga as runner-up once in 1993. Moreover, Reinhardt has played in 4 matches for West German national team.

Jurgen Gelsdorf

  • Date of birth: 19 January 1953 (age 68)

  • Place of birth: Duisburg, West Germany

  • Height: 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)

  • Position(s): Defender

Jurgen Gelsdorf, born 19 January 1953 in Duisburg, is a German football coach and former player who is currently youth team’s coordinator at Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

Gelsdorf is regarded as one of the best defenders in Bayer Leverkusen history. With 310 appearances, he stands 10th in the list of most-capped players in the history of the club. He spent 10 years with Leverkusen and hung his boots in 1986.

He played a very vital role in Bayer Leverkusen's promotion to the top tier of German football, which happened in 1979 and the club has been competing in Bundesliga ever since. After his retirement, he became a manager and even coached the club for nearly 2 years between 1989 and 1991.

Later he became the manager of the club's U-19 team in 2005, but it was only 2 years later that he was named the club's youth teams' coordinator in 2007, and has been serving the club in that position ever since. Gelsdorf is indubitably one of the all-time best Bayer Leverkusen defenders, and one of the most notable players in the history of the German Club.

Christian Worns

  • Date of birth: 10 May 1972 (age 49)

  • Place of birth: Mannheim, West Germany

  • Height: 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)

  • Position(s): Defender

Christian Wörns, born 10 May 1972, is a German former professional footballer who played as a defender. Wörns is widely considered one of the finest German defenders of his generation.

He started his career with Waldhof Mannheim but played the majority of his career with Bayer Leverkusen and

Borussia Dortmund

. He also had a short stint with

Paris Saint-Germain

.

Worns is widely considered as one of the greatest German defenders of his generation, one of the best Bayer Leverkusen defenders of all time, and one of the best defenders in the history of Borussia Dortmund. After making his debut and staying for two years at his hometown club, Waldhof Mannheim, Worns joined Bayer Leverkusen in 1991.

He went on to play in 259 matches for Leverkusen during 7 years. Moreover, Worns helped them secure a German Cup in 92-93Season. He eternalized his name as one of the

best Bayer Leverkusen defenders ever

, due to his brilliant defensive acts on the pitch for the club.

He left the club in 1998 to have a 1-year spell at the French Club Paris Saint-Germain, where he won the French Super Cup in his only season. Worns joined Borussia Dortmund in 1999, and stayed there until he hung his boots in 2008. Worns played an important role in Dortmund's winning the Bundesliga title in 2002.

Worns has made 66 appearances for German national team, including taking part in 2 European championships, in 1992 and 2004, and 1998 World Cup. He won the Silver medal in EURO 1992 as Germany finished as runner-up.

Moreover, he has been named in the Bundesliga Team of the Season by kicker (Germany's leading sport magazine) on 4 occasions, 3 of which as Bayer Leverkusen's player.

 

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Best Bayern Munich Defenders of all time

Carsten Ramelow

  • Full name: Carsten Ramelow

  • Date of birth: 20 March 1974 (age 47)

  • Place of birth: West Berlin, West Germany

  • Height: 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)

  • Position(s): Centre back / Defensive midfielder

Carsten Ramelow, born 20 March 1974, is a retired German footballer who played as either a central defender or a defensive midfielder.

Considered as one of the best ever Bayer Leverkusen defenders, Carsten Ramelow spent the majority of his career at BayArena. He made his senior debut with his hometown club, Hertha BSC.

After spending 5 seasons with Hertha and finishing the 1993 German Cup as the runner-up, Ramelow moved to Bayer Leverkusen in 1995, and stayed there for 13 years until he ended his career with Leverkusen's shirt.

He played a very pivotal role in the club's reaching the final match of 2002 Champions League, by playing in 16 matches during the tournament. They also lost the final match of 2001 German Cup to

Schalke 04

.

Regarded as one of the

best Bayer Leverkusen defenders of all time

, Ramelow is also the 6th most-capped player in the history of the club with 437 appearances. He has scored 31 goals and provided 33 assists for the club, helping them finishing as one of the Bundesliga's top 4 in every season since his arrival until 2003-4, except for 2002-3 season, including finishing the League as runner-ups 4 times.

Moreover, he has made 46 appearances for Germany national team, and has taken part in EURO 2000 as well as the 2002 World Cup, where Germany were defeated by Brazil in the final match.

Ramelow was renowned for his defensive style of play combined with his rough tackles. He was named in the Bundesliga team of the season by kicker on one occasion.

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Juan

  • Full name: Juan Silveira dos Santos

  • Date of birth: 1 February 1979 (age 42)

  • Place of birth: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • Height: 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)

  • Position(s): Centre back

Juan Silveira dos Santos, born 1 February 1979 in Rio de Janeiro, commonly known as Juan, is a Brazilian retired footballer who played as a central defender.

The Brazilian center back started his career in 1996 with the Brazilian club Flamengo, where he claimed 4 Campeonato Carioca titles before he transferred to Europe to play for Bayer Leverkusen in 2002.

He spent 5 years playing for the German club where his astonishing performances have put his name in the list of best Bayer Leverkusen defenders of all time. During his spell at BayArena Juan appeared in 176 matches and scored 16 goals.

Moreover, he was included in the Bundesliga Team of The Season2003-4 by kicker magazine. He decided to left the club and Join the Italian side, AS Roma, in 2007.

His career in Italy was far more luminous than the one he had in Germany, as he managed to win 1 Italian Cup and 1 Italian Super Cup with Giallorossi within 5 seasons. Juan returned to his country by joining Internacional in 2012, and eventually came back to where his career had started, Flamengo, in 2016.

His second spell with the club went on as well as the first won. He won the Campeonato Carioca title twice in 2017 and 2019, as well as winning the Coppa Libertadores in 2019. He announced his retirement in 2019. He is not only considered as one of the

all-time best defenders at Bayer Leverkusen

, he is also a remarkable international player.

Juan has made 79 appearances for Brazilian national team, representing them in 2 World Cups. Moreover, he has won 2 Copa America titles as well as 2 Confederations Cups with Selecao.

Thomas Horster

  • Full name: Thomas Hörster

  • Date of birth: 27 November 1956 (age 65)

  • Place of birth: Essen, West Germany

  • Height: 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)

  • Position(s): Defender

Thomas Horster, born 27 November 1956, is a German retired footballer who played as a defender. Horster is a memorable player in Leverkusen's history, as he was a part of the squad that won the promotion to the Bundesliga in 1979. Horster spent the first 3 years of his career with a local club, and joined Leverkusen in 1977, when the club was still competing in the 2nd Division.

Regarded as one of the best Bayer Leverkusen defenders of all time, Horster stayed at BayArena for 14 years, helping the club reach their first and yet, only international trophy; winning the UEFA Cup in season 1987-88.

Moreover, he is the club's third-most capped player of all time, having appeared in 477 matches. Moreover, he was named in the Bundesliga Team of the Season of 1986-87 by kicker. After his retirement, the club's legend continued his association with Leverkusen by working as either a manager for youth teams and reserves or a scout.

However, for a 3-month-long spell, he was the main squad's manager in 2003. Furthermore, Horster has made 4 appearances for West Germany national team, and was a part of the Olympics team that achieved the Bronze medal in 1988.  He is deservedly one of the all-time best Bayer Leverkusen defenders.

Lucio

  • Full name: Lucimar Ferreira da Silva

  • Date of birth: 8 May 1978 (age 43)

  • Place of birth: Planaltina, Federal District, Brazil

  • Height: 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)

  • Position(s): Centre-back

Lucio is regarded as one of the best Brazilian defenders in history, and one of the best Bayer Leverkusen defenders ever. Although he has played in a variety of clubs during his professional career, he is mostly remembered for his spells at Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen and

Inter Milan

.

He joined Leverkusen from Internacional, where he had started his career and stayed for 3 years, in in the winter of 2001. Lucio managed to reach the final of Champions League in 2002, and despite he scored in the match, Leverkusen ended up losing the cup to Real Madrid. Moreover, they finished both Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal as runner-up in the same season.

He made a total of 122 appearances and scored 21 goals for Leverkusen, his impressive performances for Leverkusen had caught the eyes of many prominent European clubs. Eventually, Lucio moved to Bayern Munich in 2004, where he won 3 Bundesliga titles, 3 DFB-Pokal trophies as well as 2 German League Cups during his 5-year spell at Munich. In 2009, he transferred to the Italian club Inter Milan, where he reached the pinnacle of his club career.

Inter Milan won the treble (Serie A title, Coppa Italia and Champipns League title) in 2010, with Lucio being the leader of the back line. The treble has been the first and only one in Italian football history. In addition to his first 3 achievements with Nerazzuri, he went on to win a further Coppa Italia title as well as 1 FIFA Clubs World Cup within 3 years.

He made an unsuccessful move to Juventus in 2012, which lasted only half a season in which he appeared in 4 matches. However, Juventus secured the Serie A title as well as the Italian Super Cup with his name on their list. He finally announced his retirement in 2020, after playing for a number of Brazilian clubs and an Indian club after he left Europe in 2013.

Moreover, Lucio also has a glittering career with Brazilian national team. He won the 2002 World Cup as well as 2 Confederations Cups in 2005 and 2009. Lucio is the 4th-most capped player in Brazilian national team history with 105 appearances. Dunga, who was Brazil's manager from 2006 to 2010, believed Lucio was a true leader.

That is why he appointed Lucio as the team's captain. He was renowned for his tall and strong stature as well as being highly dominant in the aerial battles. Furthermore, he was admired for his impressive tenacity and his ability in man-marking.

Regarded as one of the

best Bayer Leverkusen defenders of all time

, Lucio has been named in the Bundesliga Team of the Season by kicker magazine for 6 consecutive seasons-from 2001 to 2006, 4 of which as a Leverkusen's player. Additionally, he was included in the FIFA FIFPro World XI in 2010.

Jens Nowotny

  • Full name: Jens Daniel Nowotny

  • Date of birth: 11 January 1974 (age 47)

  • Place of birth: Malsch, West Germany

  • Height: 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)

  • Position(s): Defender

Jens Daniel Nowotny, born 11 January 1974, is a German former professional footballer who played as a defender.

Nowotny is regarded as one of the greatest German defenders of all time, and one of the best defenders in Bayer Leverkusen history. He joined Leverkusen in 1996 after a 5 year spell with the club for which he had made his debut, Karlsruher.

He became a regular starter quickly, due to his brilliance defensive capabilities. Nowotny stayed at BayArena for a decade, appearing in 297 games. Leverkusen finished the Bundelisa as runner-up 4 times with Nowotny in the squad, as well as losing the final match of Champions League and the German Cup (DFB-Pokal) in 2002.

He joined the Croatian club,

Dinamo Zagreb

, in 2006. Not only did an injury not allow him to play for the Crotian club for more than 6 months, but he decided to hang his boots in the January of 2007 due to the intensity of the injury.

However, Dinamo won both the Croatian League title and the Croatian cup in that season, which is regarded as Nowotny's achievements too. Moreover, Nowotny has won 48 caps for German national team, including participating in 2006 World Cup, where Germany finished in the 3rd place and won the Bronze medal, as well as 2 European championships in 2000 and 2004.

Unquestionably considered as one of the best Bayer Leverkusen defenders of all time, he was named in the Bundesliga Team of the Year by kicker magazine on 4 occasions.

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