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Robben: A lot of what I do is intuition

In his first season at Bayern, Arjen Robben has made a huge contribution, with crucial goals in the Bundesliga, the cup and the Champions League, especially in the second half of the campaign. The Dutch ace is now keen to add further honours to his league winner’s medal. spoke to the 26-year-old about cup final opponents Bremen, Philipp Lahm’s role in his success, and Tulips from Amsterdam.

Interview: Arjen Robben

Arjen, the song Tulips from Amsterdam plays at the Allianz Arena to hail your goals. A tulip grower in the Netherlands now wants to name a variety after you.
Arjen Robben: “Yes, I’ve heard about this. I’m amused by that, and by the song. I don’t actually come from Amsterdam, but it obviously makes German folk think of the Netherlands.“

We’ve heard the song a lot this season. You’ve scored 22 goals, 16 of them in the Bundesliga. So in one season at FCB, you’ve scored more often than in three seasons with Chelsea and two with Real Madrid.
“Really? I didn’t know that, but it’s great. I’ve always aimed to be more effective in terms of goals and assists, which is what I’m out there to do. If I find my rhythm, I’m very confident. And that’s when I play well and score.“

You’ve also had a good, long injury-free run, missing only two Bundesliga fixtures since Christmas.
“Fitness is the most important factor for me. I had a bit of bad luck, needing knee surgery in the autumn, but I’ve been very consistent since the midpoint of the season. I used to have a lot of trouble with muscle strains. There was obviously an underlying reason, but we’ve got to grips with it recently, largely thanks to Dr Müller-Wohlfahrt and the club’s outstanding medical team. They all matter to me a lot.“

Fitness is one factor but what about your mental state?
“Very important, obviously. I’ve felt very welcome and settled in Munich from the start. I like the fact that Bayern is a family club, because my family’s well-being is important to me. Everything’s gone really well so far.“

A lot of your goals start with you taking possession on the touchline, followed by Philipp Lahm sprinting past you on the outside, and you cutting inside. How crucial is Philipp’s role there?
“Philipp makes a huge contribution, because he pulls at least one defender out of position and I have space to shoot or pass, with Philipp as an option. He can then cross or look for me again. We work well together.“

Opponents know all about that move by now, but can’t seem to stop it. Why?
“It could be to do with the speed it all takes place. A lot of what I do comes down to intuition. I wait for the right moment, look for the gap, and then head for goal.“

You’ve won a first trophy of term. Will you win a second on Saturday?
“We all hope so, naturally. I’m looking forward to the game and the stadium, half full of our fans, and half full of theirs. I experienced the occasion at Wembley with Chelsea, and they were always fabulous games, although it’s only really enjoyable if you win. We celebrated with our fans in the same place last weekend, and we’d like to do it again on Saturday.“