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Upbeat Arjen

Robben: Big win shows we’re coming on well

The Bayern stars certainly deserved their day off on Sunday. Following the 8-0 rout of Hamburger SV last weekend and a creditable goalless draw away to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Ukraine, Germany’s biggest club rounded off a good week with a second goalfest in the space of eight days as the Reds thrashed SC Paderborn 6-0 away from home. The FCB camp was an understandably happy place afterwards.

“We took it very seriously indeed,” commented Pep Guardiola after his men set about their work on Saturday with no hint of the rigours of the previous few days. Bayern patiently waited for gaps to appear in the packed defence deployed by the promoted minnows, whose back five and four-man defensive midfield “stood up to us very well” in the first 20 minutes, as Arjen Robben commented.

However, the individual class available to Bayern again came to the fore in Paderborn, especially as it was used for the good of the team. “David’s pass to me was good, and I helped it on its way to Lewy very well, leaving him all on his own in front of goal,” said Robben, reviewing the 24th-minute opener. Robert Lewandowski supplied a clinical finish and was on hand again after 37 minutes to deftly flick Franck Ribéry’s angled cut-back over the line.

Robert’s reward

“Robert really deserved his goals,” said sporting director Matthias Sammer after the Pole’s second brace in a red shirt. “It’s obviously great when you score a goal or two,” the striker agreed with some relief. “He’s been fighting away in training,” added Sammer, “that’s the foundation for earning a reward in matches.” Lewandowski & Co also “laid the basis for our win,” Robben pointed out.

“It was a bit easier after the first two goals,” said Guardiola. Munich’s 20th straight Bundesliga success against promoted clubs was no longer in doubt after Robben’s 63rd-minute penalty to make it 3-0 following the incident that cost Paderborn’s Florian Hartherz a red card. “The penalty was a gift from Thomas [Müller],” the Dutch winger revealed. “Basti [Schweinsteiger] said over lunch: You’re among the leaders in the scoring charts, so if we get a penalty you should take it. I reminded Thomas about that and he let me have the penalty, so I want to say thank-you to Thomas.”

Can Robben finish as top scorer?

With the benefit of an extra man, the Bayern express built up a formidable head of steam. Ribéry (72) and Mitchell Weiser with his maiden Bundesliga goal six minutes later took the score onto 5-0, before the outstanding Robben rounded it off with the sixth four minutes from the end, taking the 31-year-old up to 16 for the season. The Dutchman is now the league’s leading marksman and stands a very good chance of becoming the first FCB star to end the season as top scorer since Mario Gomez back in 2010/11.

“6-0 is a very good result. Congratulations to the team!” enthused Sammer, “we now have only a little more room to improve.” Robben was a shade more guarded: “We’re coming on well and definitely improving, but that’s what we have to do every week and in every training session.” Nevertheless, Arjen is in upbeat spirits: “We’re heading in a good direction. I can feel it.”