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Fit-again star is match-winner and ambassador

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Fit-again star is match-winner and ambassador

Postby FCBayernNews » Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:10 pm

A difficult 2011 finished well for Arjen Robben, scorer of the stoppage-time winner against tenacious cup opponents Bochum on Tuesday. "I thought we'd be forced into an extra half-hour," the 27-year-old admitted after 90 hard-fought minutes. Avoiding extra time brought a very personal reward for the player too: "Yes, I can use the half-hour well, as I'm about to make a two-and-a-half-hour journey by car," he revealed.

Robben travelled straight from Bochum to his hometown in the Netherlands, where he was unveiled as an official ambassador for the charity foundation at FC Groningen, the club which nurtured him as a youth. "The world of football is often portrayed as hard and cold, but it has a community side too," said the 27-year-old. His commitment in Groningen is to promote the foundation dedicated to education, health and social cohesion, "and I'm hoping to make a real contribution," he said.

He certainly made an essential contribution to the Bayern cause the previous evening, scoring his first goal from open play in three months. "Franck received the ball, thrust into the box, and went round his man," Arjen recalled, "I know he likes to play the ball in behind the defenders. I was expecting it, and I struck it well. It was the kind of shot where you have to stay cool. If you hit it too hard, it goes out of the stadium," he continued.

Arjen's happy end

It was a fine final flourish in a year with tricky phases for the Netherlands star. Apart from three brief substitute appearances, he was out of action from late August until mid-November, due to a pelvic inflammation and subsequent groin surgery. He finally regained fitness in early December, and started five of the last seven matches before the winter break, including the cup clash in Bochum.

Just like all his team-mates, he was forced to graft and fight for the full 90 minutes. "It was tough for me as well. There was a phase in the first half where I didn't play the ball for almost 10 minutes," he recalled. Despite that, he delivered more shots at goal than any other player (five), and had two good chances prior to scoring, a 27th-minute header and a curled effort with 20 minutes to play. And then there was another incident just four minutes from the break.

Robben holds up his hands

Robben was tripped in the box, but collected a yellow card for alleged diving. Replays indicated that Bochum defender Marcel Maltritz did indeed foul the FCB man, but Arjen took an extra couple of steps before falling to the turf. "I realised I wouldn't reach the ball and went to ground. I shouldn't have done it, it was stupid. I should have fallen earlier, so apologies for that," he said after the match. "If he goes down straight away, it's a stonewall penalty," Maltritz conceded.

Thanks to the stoppage-time winner, the game ended well both for Robben and for Bayern. Once again, the player showed just why the club is keen to extend his contract, which expires in 2013. "There's a clear trend: we want him to stay beyond 2013," boss Jupp Heynckes recently told kicker magazine, "we need top players like him. He's the kind of player who makes the difference."
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