BAYERN MUNICH, Robben: "We can be proud of ourselves"
© foto di Daniele Buffa/Image Sport
After helping FC Bayern München edge their UEFA Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid CF, Arjen Robben told UEFA.com the prospect of a home final was "indescribable".
Having found the target against his former side Real Madrid CF in Wednesday's UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg, FC Bayern München winger Arjen Robben told UEFA.com he was delighted to be facing another familiar foe, Chelsea FC, in next month's showpiece.
The Netherlands forward – who scored 15 goals in 67 Premier League games for Chelsea before signing for Madrid in 2007 – converted a 27th-minute penalty at the Santiago Bernabéu to bring an intense tie level and stunt the hosts' early attacking dominance, reflected by Cristiano Ronaldo's double strike.
If the evenly matched teams could not then be separated in regulation or extra time, the subsequent penalty shoot-out made heroes of Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger.
"I think we can be proud of ourselves after what we have achieved here," said Dutch international Robben. "We were 2-0 down after just 14 minutes and we managed to recover; we deserve to be in the final. It was a great performance, we did well and you have to congratulate our team."
Chasing a place in what has repeatedly been described in Germany as a "dream final" at the club's Fußball Arena München on 19 May, Robben admitted that he and his team-mates grew gradually more confident of becoming the first side to achieve the feat in the UEFA Champions League era.
"At half-time we all spoke up and said to each other that we could do this," the 28-year-old said. "We realised there were parts of the game we controlled and we looked the better team. Having said that, we also knew we had to take care because Madrid have such great quality up front.
"Before extra time started we had a feeling we had a slight advantage. We felt that some of their players were tired after the effort they put in. I think our physical condition is one of our strengths and we proved that by showing we can play for 120 minutes or more."
Bayern are famed in the Spanish capital as Madrid's bete noir – the Bundesliga outfit having won three of the previous four European Cup semi-finals between the sides – and the tension mounted as the tie went to penalties. "We only decided who would take them after the match ended, but fortunately it worked out well for us," said Robben after Schweinsteiger netted the decisive spot kick.
Now to a final against Chelsea which few would have predicted at the beginning of the campaign and one which pits Robben against his old club. "I had such a great time at Chelsea and I'm really happy they reached the final," he said.
"I saw their semi-final against Barcelona and they did well in a defensive capacity – you could say they parked the bus in their own area. For us, though, to be in a home final is almost indescribable. It's so great, especially for those who have been connected with the club for so long."
Schweinsteiger warned his colleagues that "we are playing a Chelsea side who beat the best team in the world over two matches". For Neuer, who foiled Ronaldo and Kaká in the shoot-out, Bayern's progress was reason enough to celebrate. "We are tremendously happy with our achievement," the German international said. "I chose the right corner twice [in the shoot-out] but the reality is you never know which side the opponent will aim for. Of course you need luck in those circumstances."
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