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Arjen Robben arrived in Munich and passed a medical exam on Friday, scored two goals after coming on in the second half with his new teammate Franck Ribery on Saturday, and then left his new home town on Monday to meet up with the Dutch international team in Enschede.
It was a remarkable weekend trip to the Bavarian capital. In just 27 minutes Robben and Ribery — Munich’s new dynamic duo quickly dubbed “Robery” by German headline writers — combined for two spectacular goals to lead Bayern to their first win of the season, 3-0 against defending champions VfL Wolfsburg.
“Robery” managed to dissipate the gloom surrounding the success-spoiled Bayern fans in just 27 minutes following the agony of their month-long “Fehlstart” — just two points from their first three matches in August and an incredible 16th place in the table before Robben arrived.
“I couldn’t have wished for a better start,” said Robben, who also rejuvenated Ribery after months of controversy over his apparent efforts to get a transfer to Real Madrid. “I’ve haven’t scored two goals in many matches before and never in my first match. But this is just the start. I came here to win matches and titles.”
If reports in Spain are correct and Real Madrid have agreed to sell Arjen Robben to Bayern Munich for 25 million euros, that would seem to be an excellent piece of business for the Spanish club.
Real paid a king’s ransom to take Robben from Chelsea a couple of years ago — when £24 million pounds was a lot more in euros than it is now — and I think it’s fair to say that he didn’t quite make the impact the fans were hoping for.
Louis van Gaal came to Bayern Munich because the Bavarians were looking for a “soccer teacher“, someone who would rid the club of former coach Juergen Klinsmann’s experiments — the innovative training methods, the meditation sessions and the Buddha statues – and bring the club back to basics.
So far so good. By the time Van Gaal arrived in July, Bayern had already signed strikers Ivica Olic, Mario Gomez and defensive midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk.
The departure of Kaka from AC Milan to Real Madrid marks the end of the Italian era in European football. Not only can Italian clubs not attract the best players in the world to play in Serie A but now, when they unearth a talent like Kaka, they can’t stop them from leaving.
Italians used to describe their Serie A as ‘il campionato piu bello del mondo’ , the most beautiful championship in the world. It was not just because Italians love nothing more than talking themselves up — Serie A was the first league in the world to sign up top foreign stars, bringing in international talent at a time when the English league, for example, stretched no further than Scotland in search of players.
Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery is a joy to watch. His acceleration, ball control and creative play have quickly elevated him to the Bundesliga’s biggest asset.
But come next week the Frenchman could be gone as the pulling power quickly fizzles out of the German league.
It says more about the value of the pound than it does the value of Franck Ribery that the sum United are supposed to be prepared to pay for him is so high — 63 million pounds, if there’s anything to the story in this morning’s Guardian.
That sum is a shade over 70 million euros, which is a slightly less ridiculous amount than the 100 million euros it would have been a year or two ago but is still, of course, vastly overinflated.
Bayern Munich’s decision to sack Juergen Klinsmann five rounds before the end of the season with the team just three points out of first place might end up working out for the club, with the title still very much up for grabs, but it’s sad news for the Bundesliga.
It is also sad for fans of the exciting, attacking style of football that the former Germany striker brought to Munich. Klinsmann had won myriad new enthusiasts for soccer in general and Bayern Munich in particular with his innovative approach — quite an achievement considering Bayern were probably the most hated club in Germany outside Bavaria.
So the thousands of fans chanting “Klinsmann out!” at the end of Bayern’s 1-0 defeat at home to Schalke on Saturday have got their way.
Bayern announced on Monday that Klinsmann was being relieved of his post with immediate effect. The man to replace him, at least until the end of the season, is Jupp Heynckes (officially the unluckiest coach in European football).
United, who visit Porto, have not looked like European and English champions recently and have a lot to do to reach the last four after last week’s disappointing 2-2 draw with the Portuguese side at Old Trafford.