It's not just Bayern Munich who will miss Arjen Robben when he moves on at the end of the season. - © DFL
It's not just Bayern Munich who will miss Arjen Robben when he moves on at the end of the season. - © DFL
60 years of Bundesliga

Arjen Robben: 10 years at Bayern Munich, 10 best moments


Michael Jackson had the Moonwalk, The Rock has People’s Elbow. Bayern Munich legend Arjen Robben patented football's cut-inside curler - an undefendable angled run off the right-hand side and arced left-footed finish into the far corner.

The veteran winger, who called time on his Bayern career in 2019, had a signature move that survived the test of time in an unwavering assault on the senses. He ripped down defensive walls and built a legacy. looks back on some of the standout moments in the legendary career of the archetypal inverted winger…

1) Debut vs. Wolfsburg, 29 August 2009

When Robben joined Bayern from Real Madrid in summer 2009, some questioned whether the former Chelsea winger would fit in at the club.

Needless to say those doubts were vanquished by a mouth-watering taster session against defending Bundesliga champions Wolfsburg at the start of 2009/10.

Making his Bundesliga debut as a half-time substitute for Hamit Altintop, the Dutchman scored two second-half goals to seal a 3-0 win, each one put on a plate by Franck Ribery. The most devastating wing duo, Robbery, was born.

Robben and Franck Ribery (l.-r.) hit it off immediately at Bayern Munich. - imago/DeFodi

2) First Bundesliga hat-trick, 17 April 2010

It may come a surprise, but Ribery didn’t have a direct hand in a single one of his partner-in-crime’s three goals against Hannover on Matchday 31 of the 2009/10 campaign.

Mark van Bommel, Philipp Lahm and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk were the providers for the Flying Dutchman on a chastening afternoon for the Reds, who succumbed to a trademark Robben masterclass in a one-sided 7-0 defeat.

It was his first ever career hat-trick – and he even added an assist.

3) First Bundesliga title, 2010 Player of the Year

A couple of weeks later, Robben was celebrating his maiden Bundesliga title with Bayern, after scoring two goals in their 3-1 victory over Hertha Berlin.

He finished as Bayern’s top scorer on 16 goals - his second best single-season tally in a Bayern shirt - and was later named Germany’s 2010 Player of the Year.

Watch: Robben's top 5 goals

4) Scourge of St Pauli, 7 May 2011

How might Bayern’s title defence have panned out, had Robben not missed the entire first half of 2010/11 through injury...?

Although the Dutchman chalked up 12 goals and 10 assists in 14 Rückrunde outings following his return, it was only enough to rescue Bayern a third-placed finish, some 10 points behind champions Borussia Dortmund.

Unfortunately for St. Pauli, Robben showed no mercy on the penultimate day, scoring two and assisting three in an 8-1 defeat that consigned Germany’s cult club to the second tier.

5) Treble heaven, 2012/13

Robben went home empty-handed again in 2011/12, with missed penalties in a title-decider with Dortmund and the UEFA Champions League final against Chelsea making it a year to forget for the wing wizard.

Redemption came full circle in 2012/13, however, as Robben helped Bayern to an unprecedented Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB Cup treble.

His late winner against old foes Dortmund in the first all-German Champions League final might just be the enduring image of his Bayern story.

Robben won the 2013 Champions League for Bayern Munich with an 89th-minute winner against Dortmund. - 2013 Getty Images

6) Career-best return, 2014/15

Most would have expected Robben to have scaled back his efforts as he approached his 30s, but Mr. Evergreen appeared to only get better with age.

He posted double figures for the fourth time in five seasons in 2013/14, and went one better the following year by notching a career-best 17 Bundesliga goals.

Throw in seven assists, and it’s a combined tally matched once since he rocked up in the Bavarian capital.

Hands up if you still think fourth place in the 2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or vote is a bit of a scandal…?

7) A century of Bundesliga wins, 2014/15

The 2014/15 Bundesliga campaign was significant for another reason.

On Matchday 24, in Bayern’s 3-1 win at Hannover, Robben cemented the legend by reaching 100 Bundesliga victories in the shortest number of games in history - 126.

That he did so in his sixth season at Bayern is no mean feat, but imagine how much sooner he would have joined club 100 without all the injuries…

"I can't believe you didn't make the Ballon d'Or top three!" Pep Guardiola (r.) was treated to peak Robben (l.) between 2013-2015. - 2016 Getty Images

8) The fastest footballer in World Cup history, 2014

No stranger to best-marks and no slouch in a footrace, Robben could just as easily have carved out a career as a top-level sprinter in another life. Ask Sergio Ramos.

The Dutchman left the poor Spain defender in his wake in a group game at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, sprinting 15.55 meters in just 1.61 seconds at a competition-best speed of 22mph.

The Netherlands triumphed 5-1 that afternoon, and went on to finish third, four years after Robben had inspired their run to the 2010 final, where they lost out in extra-time to Spain. No one does revenge better.

9) Dortmund’s Kryptonite, 4 November 2017

Dortmund know all about a Robben scorned, but not even they were prepared for what hit them when Bayern visited the Signal Iduna Park in November 2017.

Donning the captain’s armband in the absence of Manuel Neuer and Thomas Müller, the wing veteran was celebrating his 11th goal in 19 career appearances against his black-yellow nemesis inside 17 minutes.

He also instigated Bayern’s second, in what was another torrid night in with the Dutch Destroyer for BVB left-back Marcel Schmelzer.

"You can't defend against him on your own, he's just too quick and too clever," resigned Schmelzer.

Watch: Arjen Robben put on a Klassiker clinic at Dortmund in 2017/18

10) Ninety-nine Bundesliga goals, eight Bundesliga titles

It’s fair to say Schmelzer and the legions of Bundesliga defenders Robben has left trailing in his wake won’t miss him now the decade-long torment is over.

Robben signed off with his 99th Bundesliga goal as Bayern clinched their eighth successive Bundesliga title on the final day of 2018/19. The Dutchman had a hand in every single one of them.

The numbers scarcely do Robben's influence justice, but 246 goals, 195 assists and 30 trophies is a laudable return for a player whose career has been interrupted by physical setbacks.

One of the most consistent and electrifying performers of his generation, albeit one of the most under-appreciated, the Dutchman bowed out as a bona fide legend of the game.

Chris Mayer-Lodge

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