Bayern Munich is much stronger team now: Arjen Robben

Last Updated: Wed, May 01, 2013 06:07 hrs

Despite the overwhelming 4-0 lead Bayern Munich hold over Barcelona after last week’s scintillating semi-final first leg performance at home, Arjen Robben, the newly crowned German champions’ talismanic winger, insists his team will be anything but complacent when they step onto the pitch at the Nou Camp for the return clash today. Excerpts:

Q) Arjen, Bayern Munich go to the Nou Camp already 4-0 up; basically you have one and a half feet in the Champions League Final already!

A) "We're trying not to think like that. We've said to each other 'just stay quiet'. There' s nothing to celebrate yet because we have another game to go and we need to concentrate on it. We need to go to Barcelona and defend well."

Q) Even so, winning 4-0 at home was an incredible result against a team many think are the best in football history?

A) "Yes, I think we can be very proud. It was a very good result in the first leg. We knew we were able to give them a good competition and before the game everybody said the match was 50-50. But to win by that margin was special, especially with the way we played."

Q) How did you feel originally when the draw was made? Did you fear the worst when Barca came out of the hat?

A) "No, I said straight away that it was a wonderful draw and a nice challenge for us. The four best teams in Europe have made it to the semi-finals, but we know we can beat anyone - and we've proved it."

Q) Well, you have certainly proved Barcelona aren't unbeatable!

A) "They have dominated Europe in the last few years, but if you dominate them like we did and beat them in such a terrific way, then it's very special. But there is a second game to come, so let's just stay focused. We have to be ready."

Q) How did you do it? Were there any special tactics?

A) "It was a team performance and that's why we can be so proud. We played a terrific game - everybody. We fought for every metre and we didn't give them much space to play. Maybe they had one chance or possibly two but that was all. We deserved to win the game and now we have to make sure we go through."

Q) Is there a danger Bayern could be complacent when you go to Spain and believe you only have to turn up to reach the final?

A) "No chance. We have already learned our lesson in the competition this season. When we played against Arsenal in the last-16 and won 3-1 away, everyone was thinking the tie was over.  Of course then everyone was disappointed and angry with our result at home, but it was a good lesson for us. So we'll be ready."

Q) From the way you played against Barca - throwing yourself into tackles and scoring a brilliant goal - it's clear how much this competition means to you after what happened last year, missing a penalty in the final?

A) "I've said already that I'll give everything in my power to win the Champions League. That hasn't changed.

"I've contested two Champions League finals with Bayern, and two semi-finals with Chelsea. But at the end of the day, you have to go on and win the cup at some point. I hope this is our year.

"We showed last season that we can be up there with the best in Europe, so we want to be in the final at Wembley this time."

Q) When you look back now it was a pretty difficult time for you. The missed penalty in Munich, injuries, being in and out of the side - and then a disaster for your country Holland when you performed so badly at Euro 2012?

A) "That's why I don't want to look back. What's happened has happened. We just didn't win the titles that we wanted to win and I just decided I had to look forward not behind. 

"In some ways it was the worst season of my life. Things did not go well with Bayern or with the national team and of course it hurt. 
"If the Champions League final was a shock, this disappointment with the national team was even more unexpected.

"Not even the biggest pessimist thought we would get knocked out in the first phase at Euro 2012 with no points from our three games. But that is a long time ago and we have moved on."

Q) So do you think this Bayern team is a much stronger team than last year when you lost in the final to Chelsea?

A) "Well, if you look at last year's final against Chelsea, we should never have lost it! But it's true anyway that we've improved from last year. We are in the semi-finals, we have won the league, so you can't ask for more. Now we need to take the next step. We've had a very good season so far."

Q) How do you feel about your own performances right now? It looks like you are hitting top form?

A) "Yes, I hope so. I feel good. I feel that I am back on my strongest level. I've been playing more regularly recently, starting more games, and I find I am better when I have a rhythm. I want to finish the season well and we all want to be at Wembley."

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