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‘A wake-up call’

Robben returns in game of conflicting emotions

The Bayern stars trudged from the Allianz Arena pitch on Sunday evening with their heads bowed and disappointment written on their features. The 2-1 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen fell into the ‘extremely unlucky’ category, and was the first time the Reds have lost in the league this term. Amidst the general gloom, only Arjen Robben had a couple of reasons to be pleased.

“There were two sides to the match: on the one hand disappointment about losing, but on the other, I was delighted to be back on the field," the Dutch ace said after Monday's training session at the Säbener Strasse. Robben spent four and a half weeks on the sidelines with muscular problems, but made his comeback against Leverkusen as a 59th-minute substitute for the limping Luiz Gustavo.

No problems in half-hour cameo

“I felt good. It really wasn't bad after almost five weeks out," the wide player reflected. “I was really pleased to be back on the pitch, to make a comeback and manage the half-hour without any problems. That was very important to me." Naturally, he has yet to recover 100 percent fitness and form after so long away. “I need a little more of a build-up and I need matches," the player reckoned.

The 28-year-old regards Wednesday evening’s cup meeting with second division Kaiserslautern as “the next step." The second round tie is a good opportunity to gain valuable match practice, and as a club, Bayern can “make a few amends," even if the midweek clash is in a different competition.

Sunday's wake-up call

Arjen recalled last season, when FCB also set off into the campaign at a cracking pace but then lost the knack of winning in the late autumn. “We need to learn from last year," he declared, describing the defeat to Leverkusen as “a wake-up call. We have to be wide awake now and react immediately. Obviously, it can't be that we start dropping lots of points again and allow our rivals to come back at us."

Robben concluded by stating his recipe for success. “We need to set off on the next streak straight away," he advised, “in every match, we have to be up for it from the start and every minute that follows. We can't allow ourselves to let up. And none of that is automatic, you have to work hard to achieve it."