Barca join chase for in-demand midfielder.
The Catalan giants are also looking at Atletico Madrid youngster Koke as they seek signings to strengthen in the middle of the park, but it looks as though they could opt to sign Bender as he would be cheaper at an asking price of around £24m.
The German international has impressed in the Bundesliga down the years, attracting rumoured interest from several big clubs, with Arsenal several times linked as the main suitors for the player.
Arsenal are still in need of a signing of his type as they look to strengthen in the defensive midfield department this January, but Barcelona are also in the market for a similar kind of player, with new manager Luis Enrique in need of improvements after a tough start to his first season in charge at the Nou Camp.
Bender could be an ideal player to add some steel to the Barcelona midfield, though the interest in Spanish starlet Koke suggests the club are also keen to add some creativity to their side, perhaps with the view of replacing veteran playmaker Xavi.