‘It was an unbelievably intense year’

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The holidays last for a few days longer before the Bayern stars report back to the Säbener Strasse facility for the first training session of the new year on 7 January. However, it is still a period of reflection and review: following sporting director Matthias Sammer's summary of 2014, Arjen Robben spoke to fcbayern.de about a year in which he made a significant contribution to FCB storming to a tenth domestic double.

Interview with Arjen Robben, part 1

fcbayern.de: Arjen, how good is it to be on vacation after a punishing year including a double triumph and the World Cup?
Arjen Robben:It feels very, very good. It was an unbelievably intense year. It's time to switch off and forget football for a few days.

You're 30 years old but you seem to be getting better and better. Do you think that was the best year of your career?
Yes, I think it was, especially when you take the World Cup into account. It's just been incredibly enjoyable.

How do you manage to give it everything week in, week out?
It's my job (laughs). Obviously, the best thing about 2014 for me personally was that I came through without any serious injury of note. I'm in really, really good physical shape, and I know my body very well nowadays. I know what I have to do to play football at the highest level. I never just get up in the morning and say to myself: OK, I feel fine. I have to work hard every day, in training itself but also before and afterwards. If you do nothing, you get nothing. And when I then get to celebrate with the fans at the stadium, I know what it's all for.

Apropos the fans, they've composed a chant especially for you: "Der Arjen hat's gemacht" (Arjen's Done It)!
Yes, I've heard it a lot at the Allianz Arena. Fantastic! The fans are singing about the night at Wembley, and that'll never be forgotten.

Let's look back over 2014, when Bayern won the Bundesliga at an earlier point in time than ever before and then sealed the double in the cup final against Dortmund in Berlin. What do you remember best about it all?
We had an outstanding season in the league, setting records that will stand for all time. But we let up a little once everything was done and dusted in March, which is why winning the cup was so special. It was the best game of the season!

After we were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid we were all very, very disappointed. But we refused to let our heads go down, we picked ourselves up and pulled together to win the trophy. And when you win a final like that [2-0 in extra-time] it's obviously a great feeling.

How much did the 4-0 defeat at home to Real hurt?
It was just one of those evenings to forget. We weren't in a great position after losing the first leg 1-0, but the whole team -- me included -- had a good feeling before the match. We said to ourselves: the most important thing is to stop them getting at us on the break, that's when they're at their most dangerous and they're in your penalty area in three or four seconds. And what actually happened? We conceded two goals from set plays and it was over. Losing 4-0 by the end left a bitter taste, and the margin was too big.

You had a superb World Cup, but the Netherlands' run came to an end against Argentina in the semi-finals...
It was very painful. Losing to a much better team is easier to accept, but that wasn't the case on this occasion. We were superior in extra-time but failed to wrap it up. And then it went to penalties where they were better than us. Personally I'd rather have played another half-hour...! (laughs)

In the second part of our interview, to be published on 4 January, Arjen reflects on the first half of the current season and looks ahead to 2015, and specifically the training camp in Qatar.

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