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Memento for Arjen

Match ball for hat-trick hero Robben

When the master of ceremonies left the stage, the Arena rose as one to hail his performance. For the previous 84 minutes, Arjen Robben had worked his magic, weaved his way through the defensive lines and scored three times, before Pep Guardiola awarded his Dutch ace a fully deserved and triumphant march from the field. The player was visibly delighted as he headed to the dugout accompanied by a standing ovation and thunderous applause.

“I really enjoyed it,” said Robben in the wake of a thrilling 5–1 victory over Schalke. The winger’s triple strike took him onto ten league goals for the season and represented a major contribution to a convincing display. The 30-year-old kicked off with a superbly deft lob to make the score 2–0 after just quarter of an hour, before drilling into the bottom corner with his left foot in the 28th minute to score his side’s fourth.

“That was one of the best halves of football since I’ve been at Bayern,“ enthused the player after an extraordinary show of strength by the men in red. “We maintained such a high pace and we attacked with such aggression. Schalke simply couldn’t get into the game. We overran them in the first half.” But Robben was not done yet as he also had a special something up his sleeve for the second period.

Arjen: we have to keep it up

The Dutchman crowned his man of the match display by completing his hat-trick, lashing a thunderous shot into the top left hand corner from the penalty spot to round off the scoring. It was Robben’s fourth three-goal haul since joining the Bavarians. “Nice things like that don’t happen every day,” observed the 30-year-old, who was prompted by a reporter to collect and take home a match ball, the customary practice in England for a player scoring a hat-trick. “My son will be delighted!“ Arjen said

But as always, Robben was quick to give due credit to the team. “We want to show what we can do over and over again and maintain our rhythm. We’re playing with so much passion. It’s superb.“ Manuel Neuer repaid the compliment: “He had a really good game,” said the keeper, “it was extremely valuable and not just because of his goals.” And what about the Bayern fans? They serenaded Arjen with a specially recomposed German pop hit, still ringing in his ears as the master of ceremonies headed off into the bowels of the stadium.