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Lúcio wary of Bergkamp threat

Published: Wednesday 9 March 2005, 11.00CET
FC Bayern München defender Lúcio will be attempting to nullify a player he admires at Arsenal FC tonight. features

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Published: Wednesday 9 March 2005, 11.00CET

Lúcio wary of Bergkamp threat

FC Bayern München defender Lúcio will be attempting to nullify a player he admires at Arsenal FC tonight.
By Fernando Duarte

Brazilian defender Lúcio has warned his FC Bayern München team-mates not to underestimate the twin threat of Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp in their UEFA Champions League showdown against Arsenal FC at Highbury.

Bergkamp back
Non-flying Dutchman Bergkamp was unavailable for the first leg in Munich a fortnight ago but returns to Arsène Wenger's starting lineup tonight, hoping to inspire Arsenal to overturn a 3-1 deficit.

No complacency
And Lúcio also expects Bergkamp's strike partner Henry to be back on song for the all-important second leg, telling "We hold a good lead over Arsenal but there is nothing guaranteed in terms of qualification. I don't believe our situation is comfortable enough for us to relax.

Dutchman key
"Arsenal have great speed on the counterattack. Any side including Thierry Henry can never be underestimated so they do have a chance," the 26-year-old added. "My biggest worry is Dennis Bergkamp. He is a key player for them and they missed him in Germany. Arsenal didn't get a chance to play in the first leg because we set the pace of the game. We must do that again."

Magath progress
Despite Lúcio's caution, Bayern's European form has been solid, if unspectacular, under coach Felix Magath this season. Apart from two narrow 1-0 defeats by Juventus, the Bundesliga leaders have remained unbeaten home and away in the Champions League.

Steady defence
"We haven't lost in the Champions League by more than one goal, and I think even Arsenal will admit they haven't been playing well this year. But after the way AC Milan lost a 4-1 advantage against [RC] Deportivo La Coruña last year, nobody feels safe after the first leg any more! Having said that, we should have killed Arsenal off in Munich. We had enough chances and I hope we are not made to pay for that."

Painful memories
Lúcio joined Bayern from German rivals Bayer 04 Leverkusen last summer and has been in outstanding form. But the centre-back has painful memories of 2002 when Leverkusen lost the Champions League final to Real Madrid CF and were narrowly beaten to the Bundesliga title.

Second chance
"It still hurts so much when I remember 2002, when we came so close to winning trophies but finished with nothing. That's why I'm working my socks off to achieve something with Bayern," he said. "I am enjoying my time here. At a club of this size there are always going to be demands from the board and fans for us to win titles, but I see this pressure as positive," Lúcio explained.

High hopes
"There is a really good feeling at Bayern right now. Our results are getting better and better, but it is best for us as players to try not to think too much about what is going to happen. However, if we can play like we did against Arsenal in every match, then no dreams or ambitions are too high."

Last updated: 09/03/05 18.40CET

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