Robben: The best decision in my career
The 56th Bundesliga campaign kicks off on Friday evening. Arjen Robben will contest his tenth season as a Bayern pro, and the Dutchman cannot wait to fight for points after a seven-week break. "I'm glad it starts again," the winger told fcbayern.com in an interview. After the sixth German championship title in a row FC Bayern must "go full throttle again to clinch the title. It's not as easy as many people say it is. It's going to be another fight this season," said Robben.
Arjen Robben interviewed
fcbayern.com: Arjen, the Bundesliga opener against Hoffenheim is on Friday. Even if you've contested two competitive fixtures in the Supercup and the DFB Cup, are you fired up?
Arjen Robben: Of course, the Bundesliga is different, it has 34 matchdays. The feeling is more intense: it really kicks off now! And it's a bit like a reward for the hard work during pre-season. I'm glad it starts again.
fcbayern.com: You took on many top-class opponents in friendlies during pre-season. Where do you think the players are ahead of the Bundesliga opener?
Robben: We're on a good path but of course there's room for improvement. We haven't been working with the full squad for a long time, a big part only joined at the Tegernsee lake. There's room for improvement, now we need match practice. But we're still ready for the Bundesliga restart.
fcbayern.com: Hoffenheim will travel to the Allianz Arena, awkward opponents who have often annoyed you recently. What kind of match do you expect?
Robben: I think it's going to be a very, very difficult match. It's not going to be a walkover, they're in incredibly good form. They won against strong teams by high scorelines during pre-season, they won their cup match 6-1. They're a very good team. We have to put up a fight on Friday and be alert from the off, otherwise it might be an unpleasant evening. We don't want that, we want to get off to a good start to the Bundesliga.
fcbayern.com: You'll contest your tenth season at FC Bayern. Did you expect to stay in Munich for such a long time when you came here in the summer of 2009?
Robben: No, I don't think so – but then again, yes. I'm always a realist, and I know the world of football is fast-moving. It could have been different. After my debut as a pro for Groningen I was at Eindhoven for two years. It was a big step for me in the Netherlands: to leave home at the age of 18. I went abroad when I was 20, three years at Chelsea, a big club. Then two years at Madrid. Then Bayern approached me and I made the decision. I was sceptical at the beginning, I didn't know whether it was the right decision. I can now say: it was the best decision in my career.
fcbayern.com: You are in for new things despite your long spell in the Bundesliga. For the first time you won't be playing against Hamburg but against Düsseldorf. To which games or stadiums are you looking forward after such a long time?
Robben: It was always nice to play in Hamburg, it's a great city with a beautiful stadium. It's a pity HSV don't play in the Bundesliga any longer. From what I've heard there's a great atmosphere in Düsseldorf too. Or away to Nürnberg, where we haven't played for a few years. I'm just looking forward to what's expecting us.
fcbayern.com: What do you think makes the Bundesliga special, and where is it compared to the other European top leagues?
Robben: The Bundesliga is still one of the best leagues if you ask me. You could see it during pre-season, there were many friendlies against Italian or Spanish teams, and the Bundesliga teams won. Of course people always say England or Spain have the best two leagues, but I think the Bundesliga is still strong. It's interesting to watch, the number of specators is outstanding. It's an interesting league and we have to go full throttle to clinch the title. It's not as easy as many people say it is. It'll be another fight this season.
fcbayern.com: Even if it's still nine months: which header would you like to read at the end of the season?
Robben: (laughing) That's a good question. It was a superb season from Bayern. They won everything there was to win. The played outstanding football, beating everyone.