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'I'm back'

Arjen scores on long-awaited return

He was the first to get off the team bus. He was already clearly firing on all cylinders during the warm-up. His first steps back onto the Allianz Arena turf were hailed by the crowd who shared his excitement. The afternoon was all set to be an Arjen Robben show – and it was!

“I'm so happy about returning to the pitch. I even played from the start, which was a surprise,” commented the Dutchman, who made an excellent comeback in the 4-0 victory over FC Köln after a seven-week lay-off with a thigh injury. He scored the crucial opener in the 35th minute, and only Köln's top player, keeper Timo Horn, prevented more Robben goals (7, 58). When the 31-year-old was substituted in the 65th minute the crowd paid tribute to his performance with a standing ovation.

“It's a nice reward for the hard work,” declared Robben, now on 75 Bundesliga goals for FC Bayern, level with Mario Gomez. “It wasn't easy being forced only to watch and to work my way back. But I’ve done it again. I'm back,” he said, grinning: “Hopefully it’ll carry on now.” He had announced on FCB.tv the day before that for him, the season only really starts as of now.

Guardiola's high praise

Pep Guardiola too was delighted after the match. “He's got this nose for goal, the right mentality, professionalism, charisma. And he has mind-blowing quality in one-on-ones,” the FCB head coach enthused, before adding a warning: “He was injured for the last three months of the previous campaign. He's just made his fourth appearance of the season. He needs more time.”

But on Saturday evening Robben had very good reasons to celebrate – with his whole family. His comeback was witnessed by special visitors: his brother-in-law from Groningen “and his football team” watched him play at the Allianz Arena, reported Robben: “It was nice to have them here. And my family too of course. These are the people who always support me, even in hard times. If things go well when they're watching, like today, so much the better.”