Found May 26, 2013 on Fox Soccer:
Afrcia-robben
Arjen Robben was pleased to lay the ghosts of the last few seasons to rest after the 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final at Wembley. The German giants had tasted defeat in the final of this competition in two of the last three seasons, with last year's loss on penalties against Chelsea particularly heartbreaking as it came at the Allianz ArenA. Saturday's match looked to be heading to extra-time after Dortmund midfielder IIkay Gundogan's 67-minute penalty had cancelled out Mario Mandzukic's opener on the hour. But Robben latched on to Franck Ribery's backheel in the 89th minute before cutely rolling the ball into the net to snatch a 2-1 win, to the despair of the travelling Dortmund support. Robben revealed this victory was all the more sweeter because of those setbacks. "It's quite difficult at the minute and there's so many emotions especially after where we came from. Last year was such a disappointment,'' he told Sky Sports 1. "We've spoken about it, the last four years, we've been in the final three times. It needed to happen but you still have to do it. "I don't know how many times I dreamed about it. Everybody I spoke to before the game I said 'today is going to be the night and we're going to do it.' "To do it in the end is an unbelievable feeling.'' Robben admitted Bayern's transformation this season under Jupp Heynckes has been an overwhelming success, with the German coach emphasising to players such as Robben and Ribery the importance of tracking back. "We knew after last season, what had to be done to improve our game and that is what we did this season,'' said Robben. "We defended, we stayed compact - especially the four players up front, I think we did our work, we ran back and that makes it easy for the defence to play football.'' Bayern will bid to complete a historic treble when they face Stuttgart in the final of the DFB-Pokal on June 1. Robben, however, believes this season is already one to savour for Bayern. "It's unbelievable, it's already going into the history books. "The way we did it, if you beat Juventus twice and then you beat Barcelona 4-0, 3-0 and then to win the final, I don't know what more you could wish for." With the Bundesliga title already secure and a German Cup final to come against Stuttgart next weekend, it could be an historic year for Bayern. It certainly gives new coach Pep Guardiola a tough act to follow particularly as Jupp Heynckes suggested Robert Lewandowski is about to follow another Dortmund player, Mario Gotze, to Bayern next season. "We have to be cautious," said Heynckes. "My successor will be able to take over a perfectly functioning team. "We know Mario Gotze will be joining us and I don't think Robert Lewandowski will be hanging about too much either. "Of course Bayern Munich will have to prove they can continue to achieve these things but possibly a new era might have begun for the club.'' Heynckes conceded his team started slowly, when they were forced to rely on Manuel Neuer to make a succession of fine saves. However, by the time they reached half-time, Robben had become a major threat and Roman Weldenfeller was required to keep Dortmund level. It was Robben - who received his man-of-the-match prize from Sir Alex Ferguson - who provided the cross from which Mario Mandzukic put Bayern ahead and though Ilkay Gundogan quickly equalised from the spot, the cruel twist came as the clock ticked down towards a superb contest requiring extra-time to find a winner. "I would be lying if I said I was not happy,'' said Heynckes, who previously won the tournament with Real Madrid. "I am incredibly happy for the generation that have now won an international title to go with their domestic successes. "Last year they were all tragic figures but I told Arjen yesterday he would be crucial and he was.'' Heynckes confirmed he had made his decision to leave at the end of this season following the defeat to Chelsea 12 months ago and there would be no going back now. "What we have achieved so far has been outstanding,'' he said. "No team has played at such a high level, breaking almost all records in the Bundesliga. But we are not finished yet.'' So, although Robben wants the celebrations to start immediately, Heynckes would prefer Bayern to wait until the Stuttgart encounter has been taken care of. "We can talk about it but I would prefer to celebrate next Sunday when we have finished the job,'' he said. "That is what we will be doing.'' For Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp it is a bitter conclusion to a campaign he was confident would eventually end in glory. Klopp did feel Bayern defender Dante should have received a second booking for the foul on Marco Reus that earned Dortmund their penalty, although he was gracious enough not to make a massive deal out of it. "What do you think?'' he said, then: "We have same opinion,'' when told by his inquisitor he thought Dante should have been sent off. "When I saw it in the game I was sure. On TV, I think you have to give it. But there have been worse decisions than that in finals before now. "The sadness will eventually go away and maybe in two years, when the final is in Berlin, we will come back. "The whole atmosphere tonight was brilliant. Everything was good. But the result is s**t." Dortmund defender Mats Hummels, like his manager Klopp, was quick to pay tribute to Bayern and admitted they deserved the win as a result of their dominant second-half showing. The 24-year-old also lamented his side failing to take advantage in the early stages of the game, with Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer having to make several fine saves in the opening 25 minutes. "The game was really close but in the end it was kind of deserved for Bayern because they were the better team in the second half but for us it's very hard and disappointing,'' Hummels told Sky Sports 1. "It's one of the hardest games you can lose. "I think in the first 25 minutes we were the better team but missed the goals we needed. "Second half, Bayern got control in the game because we lost a little bit of control when we had the ball. We lost it too early, we didn't have the possession that we needed to get a little bit of pressure.''
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