Bernd Leno spoke to the German media about the differences between the Bundesliga and the Premier League last week, and he admitted the average game is more difficult in England.

Arsenal's German goalkeeper Bernd Leno makes a save during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
Arsenal’s German goalkeeper Bernd Leno makes a save during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north-west England, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Sport Bild talked to the Arsenal goalkeeper about how he’s finding the switch so far. Leno admitted a big difference for players in his position is that the referees offer you no protection whatsoever.

“As a goalkeeper, you have no protection in England, you have to acquire a tremendous hardness as a goalkeeper,” he said. “No matter how you approach it, you have to assume that nothing is being whistled. Since I’m in England, no attack on the goalkeeper in the penalty area was whistled in any game. That’s a big difference.

“Here everything is much more physical, the referees let the game run much more here than in the Bundesliga or even in international games.”

However, one of the positives of Leno’s new challenge is the quality of the facilities and the pitches, as he explained:

“The training centre here is absolutely extraordinary, that’s at an extreme level. The weight room is great, you have all possibilities for regeneration. But the most important thing is – and that’s what all those responsible say here: The lawn is sacred. It’s a dream to play here.

“Each training ground is a carpet for every condition, whether it is raining or snowing, before and after the session. This is very special, also with the games: Since I am at Arsenal, the turf in every stadium was a dream. From Bournemouth to Liverpool: a perfect green, perfectly cut, wet.

“That’s a huge difference to the Bundesliga. There, the pitches are sometimes longer, sometimes shorter, sometimes the quality of the grass is bad, the grass is dull. For teams who want to play football, this is a huge disadvantage.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19: A detailed view of the corner flag prior to the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC at Emirates Stadium on January 19, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 19: A detailed view of the corner flag prior to the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC at Emirates Stadium on January 19, 2019, in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

When it comes to the overall difficulty of matches, Leno argued the Premier League is the toughest.

The breadth (of talent) in the league is bigger, every game is difficult. I would really like to know how a team like Crystal Palace would fare with top players like Wilfried Zaha or Andros Townsend in the Bundesliga.”

With almost every team in the league ready to give you a good game, no winter break and less protection for goalkeepers, it’s not easy to make the transition from Germany to England. Leno has nonetheless managed to break into the Arsenal first team, albeit over an imminently retiring Petr Cech.

Hopefully, the German will only continue to improve as his time with The Gunners goes on and he completes his adaptation period. We’ll have to wait and see.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.