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Last Updated: Friday, 17 December, 2004, 19:04 GMT
Wenger ready for Bayern challenge
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the Champions League draw could open up for his side if they can get past Bayern Munich.

"What's interesting is you have Real Madrid v Juventus, Barcelona v Chelsea, Manchester United against Milan, Arsenal against Bayern Munich.

"So it will be a fantastic round for everyone. Everybody will think 'if we get through, four big teams are out'.

"It could be a very interesting one for the guys who survive."

Arsenal went into the draw unbeaten after winning Group E.

"I believe we are not as dreadful as everybody says in Europe," said Wenger.

"We have not won it, and I concede that, but when I saw the announcement, they said there was only three teams who have not lost a game.

"It was Inter Milan, Juventus, and who? Arsenal.

I did not especially want to avoid them
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on drawing Bayern Munich
"We are right in the top eight of Europe, but we have never made that decisive step.

"We are in the last 16 and if we get through, we have a good opportunity because four big teams will have gone out."

Arsenal were drawn with eventual champions Bayern in the second group stage of the 2000-01 campaign, drawing 2-2 at Highbury and then losing 1-0 in the away leg.

The Gunners still went through, losing to Valencia in the last eight, but Wenger said the defeat in Munich was "one of our worst European performances".

"It is good for us to have a chance to put that right again. I did not especially want to avoid them," added Wenger.

"The difference is with German teams is that you never know how you find them after the break because some are sharper, have had time to recover and they have a little physical advantage."

Gunners vice-chairman David Dein declared himself happy with the draw.

"We've got a talented squad but there's a lot of pressure on us - everyone thought we should have got to the final last year and that's our ambition now," said Dein.

The tie will see feuding Germany keepers Oliver Kahn and Jens Lehmann up against each other.

Kahn was first-choice Germany keeper but new coach Jurgen Klinsmann has told Kahn and Lehmann they have an equal chance of playing at the 2006 World Cup.

Kahn admitted he expected his rivalry with Lehmann to come under the spotlight.

"Given the draw, I think it's clear that the two of us will not be ignored," said Kahn.

"Of course this is being built up but it's Bayern against Arsenal, not Kahn against Lehmann. There are 10 other players on each side who will decide the tie."




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Interview: Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein





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