Friday 20 October 2017 / 07:40 PM

Robben The Difference

Arjen Robben exorcised his own personal Champions League final demons at Wembley on Saturday evening with a tremendous late strike that earned Bayern Munich a 2-1 victory over Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund and a fifth club title on Europe’s biggest stage.

The Dutch international infamously missed a penalty against his former club Chelsea in last year’s showpiece which ultimately ended in heartbreak for the Bavarians on their home turf.

 

But Robben was to make no mistake this time around as he poked home the winning goal two minutes from time after weaving his way past Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic in the Dortmund defence.

The Black Yellows may well feel a little unfortunate not to have forced extra time in a close contest that served up many chances.

It was Dortmund who settled first against many people’s expectations and Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer had to be on his guard early on to keep out efforts from Jakub Blaszczykowski and star frontman Robert Lewandowski who is looking ever more bound for the Allianz Arena next season.

Marco Reus also went close for Dortmund before Bayern carved out two decent chances of their own, firstly through Mario Mandzukic whose vicious header was turned over the bar by Roman Wiedenfeller before Javi Martinez almost converted the resulting corner.

The teams went into the break all square at 0-0 despite a strong tempo being maintained for the rest of the first period but it was Bayern who came out the better after the interval.

And after a concerted spell of pressure, Jupp Heynckes side got their noses in front on the hour mark through the nuisance like Mandzukic who stole in behind the Dortmund rearguard to tap home following excellent link up play between Franck Ribery and Robben who was a constant threat throughout the night.

Bayern were to keep the lead for just eight minutes however as Ilkay Dungodan hit back from the penalty spot following the disappointing Dante’s sluggish challenge on Reus in the area.

The setback only appeared to stir up Bayern nevertheless who were naturally looking to put their 2012 Champions League collapse to bed.

They were very nearly ahead ten minutes from time as Thomas Muller’s incisive pass seemed destined to be slotted home by the emerging Robben only for Subotic to clear wonderfully off the line.

But their winning goal did arrive in the 89th minute when Robben burst through to seal a stunning success for a club that has been completely rampant for the majority of the tournament.

It is hard to see where Bayern really need to improve going forward with former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola taking over the hot seat from the departing Heynckes who is likely to retire from management at the age of 68.

Dortmund will take a great deal of heart and optimist from their excellent campaign however it remains to be seen whether their inspirational coach Jurgen Klopp will still be at the helm next season with interest likely to surface from a number of other clubs across the continent.

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Chris Kisby

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