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Reddit AMA: The answers from Bernd Leno

Bernd Leno spent time on Thursday morning answering a wide range of questions from Arsenal fans on Reddit.

Our No 1 was taking part in our seventh 'Ask Me Anything' session with the r/gunners subreddit, the largest community of Arsenal fans on the platform, with more than 160,000 registered supporters.

Scroll down to read the questions - and find out how Bernd answered:

Do you study any of the other keepers in the Premier League? Which ones and what aspects of their games do you focus on?
To be honest I study every time I'm watching football. I look at the keepers, the game and the strikers. In the Premier League we have the best goalkeepers because there are so many top goalkeepers here. The top goalkeeper last season was Alisson from Liverpool. He's good with his feet, good at crosses and is playing high with a high defence, which you need at Liverpool. Ederson's also very good with his feet, De Gea has unbelievable reflexes and reactions. When I watch the games - and I like watching the games - I always study them. I don't want to copy them, though, it's only to see how they play. We're all different to each other, so it's just about finding our own style.
 
You recently destroyed Griezmann in the PES competition and narrowly lost in the final. Are you the best gamer in Arsenal?

I'm not sure! At football games, I'm pretty sure that I am the best because I have my own esports team. I've played football games for many years and I play with my friend a lot, so this is the reason why I beat Griezmann! I think it was a bad performance for me in the final, though. But the Arsenal staff were very happy that I reached the final. In Fortnite, I think I'm very bad because Mesut, Seo and Auba are all better at that game. But in football games, I have a good chance of being the best.
 
What was it like playing against Aubameyang back in Germany and what's it like being his team-mate now?

It was always very hard to play against Auba! In Germany, like in England, he was the best striker in the league with 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's now on my team and that the other keepers are in the bad position I was in! I think he's the best striker in the Premier League - I'm so happy he's our captain.
 
How does the atmosphere at stadiums in the Premier League compare to those in the Bundesliga? And in the games you have played, which fixture in the Prem had the best atmosphere?
The best atmosphere was the north London derby against Tottenham. It's the best I've ever played in. The difference between Germany and England is that in Germany you have the ultras in most of the stadiums behind the goal. There's like 20,000 behind one goal, singing all the time. In England, the fans are singing everywhere. In England 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 more like goals!
 
Which outfield player would be the best goalkeeper? And what position would you like to play if you weren't a goalkeeper?

I think it's Auba! I don't really know about his quality as a goalkeeper - I don't know who could be the best - but I saw that 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! If I wasn't a goalkeeper, 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 I think that this position suits me because I'm a bit taller like a defender.
 
r/gunners has recently been looking at which team to support as the Bundesliga returns this weekend, I think you should decide for us...
Who should we support? I think it's clear - Bayer Leverkusen! It's my former club. I have very good memories with the club because I played there for seven years. I grew up from a kid to an adult there. It was my first steps into professional football, I have lots of friends there and I still follow them. Hopefully you follow me by supporting my former club too!
 
Did you speak to any former or current players at the club before joining?
When I was in talks with Arsenal, you don't speak to other players because they shouldn't know about rumours. But I knew Musti from the national team and I spoke to him many times. He told me Arsenal is a very good club, the Premier League is very good and London is a great city. I already knew from Musti that Arsenal was a very good club to join and go to the next level. It was clear that Arsenal was an interesting option for me.
 
If you could play with one player from the past, who would he be?
I think it would be Andres Palop but he has already retired. He was the second-choice goalkeeper at Bayer Leverkusen in 2013/14, it was at the beginning of my career. I was the first-choice and he had come in from Sevilla. He was a mentor for me because he was very experienced and so professional. I loved to work with him because he was such a nice guy. His mentality was so impressive and I'm still in touch with him. He won the Europa League, he had everything in his career but he had such a good mentality. I remember in the last training session of his career, he was unbelievable. I would love to play with him again. It was a good choice by Leverkusen to bring him in because he helped me through the bad times. I appreciated his support for me.
 
What has been your favourite moment in an Arsenal shirt?
This is difficult to say! I have some special moments like the day I signed. In this moment I felt very proud to join Arsenal. I think 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. Then also, 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. These are the top moments.
 
Could you tell us something about the locker room atmosphere. Who is the serious one, who jokes around the most and, honestly, who is the best looking?
Who is the best looking? It's clear, it's me! In the dressing room we have a very good atmosphere. There's always music and positivity, always laughs. Of course after bad games the atmosphere isn't as good as after a win, but that's normal. But we love to listen to music. What we listen to depends who is the DJ really. If Musti's the DJ, it's German rap. If it's the French guys it's French rap, if it's English guys, it's English rap. Musti is definitely the joker - he's always talking!
 
Considering London is home to many different cultures from so many different countries, what type of food is your favourite and why?
This is a very, very difficult question because I really like the different cultures. You have different cultures here but everyone speaks together and comes together - it's a feeling that everyone is together. With the food, Turkish food is very good but for me, I'm very disappointed that you don't have Schwabisch food. It's from the south, near Stuttgart. You don't have this food in London but this is the best food because it's only available in the south of Germany.
 
How is the dynamic and atmosphere in the team in these crazy times?
Of course we can't see each other at the moment but 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.
 
Who are your mates from the German national team and Leverkusen?
Julian Brandt, Jonathan Tah, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner. I'm still in touch with all of them. Brandt now plays for Dortmund but we are good friends. We also spent a lot of time together when we played for Leverkusen, playing PlayStation and going for dinner too. I'm always happy to see them when we're all together in the national team. These are my biggest mates from Leverkusen and the national team.
 
Who is your best friend at the club currently and who was the first friend you made when you arrived here?
I think it's Musti because I've known him for so many years. We played together for the under-17s. We won the U-17s Euros together and when I came here, he helped a lot. I also get on with Seo, Granit - all the German-speaking guys helped me a lot when I joined. They are all good guys.
 
What has been your most challenging game so far?

I think the first games when I joined were the most challenging games because you come to a different league. As a keeper it's different compared to Germany. Everyone says there's no foul on the goalkeepers, the referees never whistles, so you're a little bit mentally prepared but you don't know really what to expect. It's very hard as a goalkeeper, especially mentally, because it takes time to get used to it. The beginning of my career at Arsenal, especially in the Premier League, was the most challenging because the Premier League is a different level on the mental and physical sides.
 
As a young German GK, who influenced you more: Oliver Kahn or Jens Lehmann?
I think you can learn from both. On the football level, I think I learned more from Jens. He played for Stuttgart when I was in the academy. Jens was more like the modern goalkeeper than Kahn because he was good with crosses, with his feet and with his saves. He was top and had a good mentality. But I think Kahn had a special mentality too. He was crazy and although he was not as good technically as Jens, he made so many saves just because of his mentality. Maybe he was too crazy at times, but I can certainly learn from him. If you compare me to one of them, I think I am more like Jens. But I'm not as mad as Jens - I'm a bit different to him!

 

 

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