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Man Utd rue failure to land Kompany

Manchester derby about an hour ago
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By ESPN Staff
Aug 24, 2006

Wenger expecting tough test for beaten finalists

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes his side's Champions League group will be 'interesting' but far from easy for last season's beaten finalists.

The Gunners will face Porto, CSKA Moscow and Hamburg in Group G.

Although Arsenal may be among the top seeds and installed as odds-on favourites to progress, Wenger will not take the challenge of any of the other teams lightly.

'It is a very compact group, but with a good level,' Wenger told Arsenal TV Online.

'Porto are dominating in Portugal and are always difficult to beat, CSKA have been dominating in Russia and Hamburg finished second in Germany after fighting with Bayern Munich until the end.'

Wenger declared: 'It is an interesting set of teams.

'You will see good games with football of different cultures.

'Porto will be very Latin, Hamburg will be physically strong and always try to attack while, in the last three years, CSKA Moscow have been a revelation in Europe.'

Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann is looking forward to taking on familiar German opposition, with the Gunners having secured their place in the lucrative group stages following last night's 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb which completed a 5-1 aggregate victory.

'We finally get to play a German side and I have always been looking forward to that,' said Lehmann, voted the best goalkeeper in last season's Champions League despite being sent off in the final.

He said on Sky Sports News: 'Porto and Moscow are good teams - but we have the favourite's position in this group.'

The German international warned his Arsenal team-mates not to underestimate Hamburg.

Lehmann, who was rested last night with a slight knee injury, said: 'They are always dangerous at set-pieces. You always have to be aware of this strength.'

Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein, meanwhile, knows expectations will have been raised by the superb run to Paris last time around.

'The expectation level is always that much higher because we had such a magnificent season in the Champions League, which was against all odds because we were not expected to do so well,' said Dein.

'But you cannot underestimate Arsene Wenger and how he brings the best out of players, and we have a young, exciting team emerging.

'Our ambition anyway is to go one better than last year - to try to win the trophy.'

The UEFA Champions League Groups Announced ESPN Video