Arsenal goalkeeper Leno lifts lid with Q&A as Germany’s Bundesliga returns
- Credit: PA
With the Bundesliga set to return to action this weekend, Arsenal’s Germany international goalkeeper Bernd Leno took part in an online Q&A session with Gunners supporters.
The ‘Ask Me Anything’ session on Reddit, where Arsenal have more than 160,000 registered supporters, covered a range of topics, including the resumption of play during the coronavirus pandemic.
And Leno admitted having to play behind closed doors in the stadiums would be a strange feeling, given how much atmosphere crowds create in his native Germany and the Premier League.
“The best atmosphere was the north London derby against Tottenham. It’s the best I’ve ever played in,” he said.
“The difference between Germany and England is that in Germany you have the ultras in most of the stadiums behind the goals. There’s like 20,000 behind one goal, singing all the time.
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“In England, the fans are singing everywhere. It’s either very loud or very reactive.
“In Germany they’re singing a lot and it’s loud, but English fans react more to saves, to tackles – they celebrate them like goals!”
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Asked what it was like to face current Gunners teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when they were both playing back in Germany, Leno admitted it was a challenge.
The former Bayer Leverkusen keeper said: “It was always very hard to play against Auba! In Germany, like in England, he was the best striker in the league with (Robert) Lewandowski.
“Every time he scored a lot of goals and sometimes against me as well. It was very hard to play against him but I’m very happy that he is now on my team and the other keepers are in the bad position I was in!
“I think he is the best striker in the Premier League. I’m so happy he is our captain.”
Leno also revealed further hidden talents of the former Borussia Dortmund striker when asked which outfield player would make the best keeper.
He added: “I think it’s Auba! I don’t really know about his quality as a goalkeeper, but I saw many times Auba would make some good saves after training in free-kick challenges.
“He was flying very well. I was very impressed and he could be a good choice if I got a red card and we made three changes already!”
As for what other position he might be best suited to himself, the 28-year-old Leno said: “I would play as a centre-back. First of all, I don’t like running!
“At centre-back, you don’t run as much as anyone else. I also like to challenge, to tackle and think this positions suits me because I’m a bit taller like a defender.”
Asked to reveal his favourite moment in an Arsenal shirt so far, as well as describe the dressing room atmosphere at the club, Leno had plenty of options.
“I have some special moments, like the day I signed. I felt very proud to join Arsenal. Also the double save against Tottenham. Saves are always special but in this big game, making this save and then hearing the fans screaming my name.
“One or two days after it was my birthday and my friends came over. They were in the middle of the fans when they went crazy and took a video of it to show me.
“The first time the fans were screaming my name it felt like when I really arrived, when the fans accepted me, my performance and my personality.
“In the dressing room we have a very good atmosphere, always music and positivity, laughs. Of course after bad games the atmosphere isn’t as good as after a win, but that’s normal.
“We love to listen to music. What we listen to depends on who is the DJ really. If Musti, it’s German rap, if it’s the French guys it’s French rap, it it’s the English guys it’s English rap.
“Musti is definitely the joker, he’s always talking! We played together for the under-17s, won the Euros together and when I came here he helped a lot. All the German-speaking guys helped me a lot when I joined. They are all good guys.”
With players having been at home in recent weeks due to the lockdown, Leno admitted it had felt a bit strange to not see teammates regularly.
But he revealed regular meetings online had been a big help, adding: “We have lots of meetings with the whole group and with small groups. We have goalkeeper meetings on FaceTime or video chat but you can still see a very positive energy in this team.
“Everyone likes to speak with each other and everyone’s looking forward to getting back to training to see each other. Then we can laugh, have fun, work hard and do what we love to do.”