presented by
‘Mental strength wins out’

Win for FCB in mediocre encounter

Arjen Robben was the last man out of the dressing room. Surrounded by a crowd of journalists, the Dutchman answered the questions at length. Robben was almost as unstoppable off the pitch as on it - until media director Markus Hörwick chipped in: “Arjen, the bus is about to leave. Are you coming with us?” Robben laughed, said goodbye and raced off to join his team-mates. Ready, steady and off they went. A two-hour journey on the A8 Autobahn from Stuttgart to Munich - with three points in the bag.

After the setbacks of the 4-1 defeat at Wolfsburg and the 1-1 draw with Schalke, the game away to lowly VfB Stuttgart on matchday 20 was not a walk in the park. However, FCB did clock up the first win in the second half of the season. “It wasn’t easy,” explained Robben, who gave the Reds the lead in a “difficult first half” with a wonder strike. David Alaba (51’) doubled the advantage after the break with a great free kick.

“Mental strength wins out,” said Thomas Müller after the 2-0 victory at VfB Stuttgart, “we weren’t brilliant but there was one good team on the pitch.” The Germany international, sent on by coach Pep Guardiola in the second half, described the eagerly awaited win as “mentally important. But it was more vital for our position in the table.” Bayern are again eight points ahead of VfL Wolfsburg in second spot.

Stevens praises Robben, Alaba and FCB

A 60,000 crowd at Stuttgart saw a game with few goalscoring opportunities on Saturday afternoon. Robben was ruthless in converting the first chance on goal for Bayern - and what a strike it was. Mitchell Weiser, in the starting eleven for the second time in succession (“It feels fantastic! That’s the reason why I’ve played football since being a kid.”), set up Robben with a perfect pass. And Arjen side footed the ball past the VfB keeper Sven Ulreich into the back of the net.

“The most important part is to control your shot. It ends up in row Z if you smash it,” said Robben in describing his goal. Even the VfB coach Huub Stevens was impressed. “What can you do when Robben hits a shot and Alaba a free kick like that? You have to take your hat off to the opposition,” declared the Dutchman whose team is now bottom of the league, “Bayern made the most of our first mistake.”

Guardiola: Less running and more football

It was the twelfth league goal of the campaign for the outstanding Robben - he has scored five of the last eight FCB goals - and is just one goal behind Eintracht Frankfurt’s Alex Meier on 13. Alaba netted his first of the season. “I’ve often taken free kicks like that in training and thank God it went in today,” reported the Austrian who missed the end of the first half of the season due to a knee injury. That is now all behind him.

“He is one of the most important players in our team,” said Guardiola in praise of the versatile defender. Bayern’s coach was not completely satisfied with his team’s performance in Stuttgart. “I know we’re not perfect. We’ve got to improve,” added the Spaniard. Less running and more football is the order of the day in this week’s training sessions. “Pass, pass and pass as fast as possible.” But: “Let’s just enjoy the win for now!”