BERLIN, May 25 – Dutch winger Arjen Robben may well light up the World Cup in Oranje in South Africa, but he arrives in the Republic after a stellar season in the red of Bayern Munich.Robben has scored 23 goals for Bayern this season and each of his strikes against Fiorentina, Manchester United and Lyon played a large part in getting the German giants to the Champions League final.
In the end it was all to no avail as Bayern were outplayed 2-0 by Inter Milan in the final, leaving Robben frustrated.
After signing from Real Madrid last August, the 26-year-old went from being a squad player in the Spanish capital to Bayern’s superstar and announced his arrival with two goals on his debut against Wolfsburg.
In one season at Bayern, he has scored more goals than in three seasons with Chelsea and two in Madrid.
"I’ve always aimed to be more effective in terms of goals and assists, which is what I’m out there to do," he said.
"If I find my rhythm, I’m very confident. And that’s when I play well and score."
Bayern are chasing the treble of Bundesliga, Champions League and German Cup titles and Robben has been a key part of the success.
Robben has more than 40 caps for Holland and since making his debut at the Euro 2004 campaign, he was a key member of the Oranje’s World Cup campaign four years ago in Germany.
He spent three injury-blighted years at Chelsea until 2007 and then two years at Madrid, where he was only ever promised a squad role, Robben has stayed relatively fit this season and Bayern have reaped the rewards.
"Bayern is a family club, who’ve done everything imaginable for me and my family right from the start," he said after his daughter was born in Munich earlier this year.
"I had a bit of bad luck, needing knee surgery in the autumn, but I’ve been very consistent since the mid-point of the season.
"I used to have a lot of trouble with muscle strains.
"There was obviously an underlying reason, but we’ve got to grips with it recently, largely thanks to the club’s outstanding medical team."
The player has repaid the Bayern’s faith and expertise.
His goal in the German Cup semi-final sealed the 1-0 win over rivals Schalke was breath-taking as he beat three defenders for pace, then turned sharply and unleashed his shot into the far corner – in the 112th minute.
His Bayern team-mate and Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger described it as an ‘an outrageous goal’ while Bayern president Uli Hoeness said he was glad they had spent 24 million euros to bring him to Bavaria.
"Arjen is world class," beamed Hoeness as Robben also netted a penalty in the 4-0 German Cup final win over Werder Bremen.
"At any moment, at any second even, he can settle a match. We’re delighted he’s our player."
Robben says the permanent desire to take on and beat his man is something he was born with.
Germany’s defender Heiko Westermann admitted agreed Holland’s Group E opponents Denmark, Japan and Cameroon will struggle to contain the Dutchman when he flies down the wing.
"Once he’s started off with the ball, he’s hard to stop," said Schalke’s Westermann.
"I tried everything and I hurled myself at him, but I was half a second too late."