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Heynckes hails in-form Robben

25 May 2013 09:16:58

Heynckes hails in-form Robben

Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes believes Arjen Robben is even more important to the German giants' Champions League quest this term.

Robben was cast in the role of villain 12 months ago when he missed the extra-time spot-kick that cost his side victory on home soil against Chelsea. With a disappointing Euro 2012 campaign to follow and then an early season injury, it seemed the Dutchman's influence was fading.

But Robben has slowly returned to form, contributing two of Bayern's seven goals in their semi-final mauling of Barcelona and being an integral figure in their pursuit of the Treble. Ahead of Saturday's all-German showdown with Borussia Dortmund at Wembley, Heynckes said: "It is not a surprise. Arjen was very motivated after the European Championships last summer."

He added: "But he got injured and lost time. He is still driven by ambition. He has a professional approach and is in good form. He is a very important player in my system because he has learned to take on defensive roles. That makes him a lot stronger than he has been in the past."

Heynckes reported a fully fit 21-man squad, which will allow Bayern to start favourites to lift their first European crown since 2001.

With the Bundesliga title already confirmed and a DFB-Pokal final against Stuttgart to follow next week, Heynckes final season as a manager is threatening to leave new boss Pep Guardiola with a difficult act to follow.

The 68-year-old accepts his team are something special. "We have achieved some extraordinary things," he said. "Overall, our season has been the best in the Bundesliga from any team in 50 years.

"But we have the aspiration to carry on. We want to maintain our form tomorrow and in the German Cup final.

"I am fortunate. I have won the Champions League before when I was at Real Madrid. For the players in our squad who are 28 and over, tomorrow could be the crowning moment of their entire careers."


PA

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