Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender not "afraid" of Benfica

Bender not
© PA Photos
Lars Bender is confident that Bayer Leverkusen will get the better of Benfica in the last 32 of the Europa League.

Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender has insisted that his side are not "afraid" of Benfica ahead of their clash on Thursday.

The German club will host the Portuguese side at the BayArena in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie.

"We know all about Benfica's strengths," he told "They're far from being a no-name team.

"But we're Bayer Leverkusen and we have no reason to be afraid. We can overcome this obstacle.

"I'm sure Benfica would have liked a different draw. If we play to our strengths we'll be able to handle this tough assignment."

Bayer will head into Thursday's match on the back of a 3-3 away draw with Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Bayer Leverkusen's Stefan Kiessling on March 3, 2012
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