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A ‘100 percent pro’

Goals galore for free-scoring Arjen

It all look so easy. Bayern beat Borussia Dortmund 3–0 in the big Bundesliga showdown, before running up a tenth straight win in the Champions League a couple of days later. The Reds were a shade below par at times against Eintracht Braunschweig at the weekend, but despite the punishing recent schedule FCB’s hunger was enough to overcome the promoted side. “Our energy levels are falling,” acknowledged Manuel Neuer, one of Munich’s best players on Saturday. At the other end the highlights were provided by a man who seems finally set to come through the first half of a season without injury, namely Arjen Robben.

“It was a tough match in Moscow, and there were the travel difficulties too. You just enjoy it so much more when you come home and play on this excellent pitch,“ the 29-year-old winger said after stamping his authority all over the Braunschweig clash. He paved the way to victory with Bayern’s quickest Bundesliga goal so far this season, as the Allianz Arena erupted with just 111 seconds played. “We said beforehand we wanted to go for it from the start and score an early goal,” revealed Robben, “it always makes it easier.”

It was the second time in four days that Robben has opened the scoring, and it also meant he passed a milestone. It was his 50th Bundesliga goal in his 90th appearance, a stunning total which he pushed up to 51 before the break. In his last 26 appearances, Robben has had a hand in 28 FCB goals (17 goals, 11 assists). “My best stats are with Bayern,” reflected the Dutchman, who scored his ninth German top-flight brace from assists by Mario Götze and Toni Kroos: “They were excellent passes,” he stated.

Pep touches wood

Pep Guardiola knows how valuable the Dutchman has been to the club since his arrival in summer 2009. “Arjen is very important for our game,” the coach said, “he scores a lot of important goals.” Robben Is not only a ruthless finisher, of course, as he has provided 27 assists in his 90 Bundesliga matches, meaning he has had a direct hand in 78 goals.

“Arjen has often decided matches in the past,” commented Neuer, “he’s always valuable to us.” The 29-year-old Netherlands star long ago put his missed penalty in the 2012 Champions League final behind him, seeming instead to draw new inspiration from the experience. “I’m delighted for Arjen because I’m aware of how often he’s had to withstand criticism,” stated Sammer. “He’s a 100 percent professional, but he also needs to pause for breath once in a while.”

That is not something Robben does very often out on the field, certainly not just because he had already scored two goals against Braunschweig: he kept up the good work and even hit the bar with a second-half free-kick. Robben is at the top of his game right now, and permanently dangerous in front of goal. Everyone at Bayern simply hopes the Dutchman can continue to avoid injury. “I’m touching wood,” Guardiola smiled.