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Coach and player of the year

Prestigious awards for Van Gaal and Robben

Bayern’s Dutch pair Louis van Gaal and Arjen Robben have been named Germany’s coach and player of the year respectively. The prestigious honours, determined by a vote among accredited German sports journalists, were announced on Sunday by kicker magazine. The respected journal has run the annual poll since the introduction of the Bundesliga in 1965.

Van Gaal is the first non-German to be named coach of the year. The Dutchman, who turns 59 on Sunday, amassed 398 of the 925 votes to finish ahead of Schalke boss and previous year’s winner Felix Magath (231) and Germany coach Joachim Löw (87).

Robben holds off team-mates

Robben earned the player of the year accolade by a wide margin. The 26-year-old collected 445 votes, finishing well ahead of his team-mates Bastian Schweinsteiger (180), Thomas Müller (118) and Philipp Lahm (35) in second, third and fourth. Robben is the first Dutch player to win the award.

“This is a great honour and a reward for a superb season. One more win, and we’d have won the lot,” commented Robben, currently sidelined with a thigh injury. “Arjen is the right choice,” Van Gaal said.

Successful duo

The pair both made significant contributions to Bayern’s domestic double triumph last season. Van Gaal plotted a campaign combining attractive and successful football, leading Bayern to the Bundesliga title and the DFB Cup, and to the Champions League final.

Robben emerged as one of the leading figures in the Munich line-up. Also in his first season with Bayern, the lightning-quick Netherlands star was a constant source of danger and inspiration. He finished top scorer at the club with 23 goals in 37 appearances in all competitions.

Bayern to the fore

Van Gaal and Robben are the latest winners in a long line of previous Bavarian recipients of the annual kicker awards. FCB men have now won the coach and player of the year accolades 18 times, most recently with Franck Ribéry two years ago.