Largely free from injury, Bayern's Arjen Robben took his game to new heights in 2014
Largely free from injury, Bayern's Arjen Robben took his game to new heights in 2014

Unfading Robben flying higher than ever before at Bayern

Munich - Irrepressible FC Bayern München winger continued to defy his ageing legs for club and country in 2014.

'I know my body very well'

The 30-year-old Dutchman helped his Bavarian employers to a in 2013/14 before steering the Netherlands to an unexpected at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil last summer, and fully intends to press on in much the same vein in the months ahead.

"It was an unbelievably intense year, especially when you take the World Cup into account," Robben told his club's website "Obviously, the best thing about 2014 for me personally was that I came through without any serious injuries. I'm in really, really good physical shape, and I know my body very well nowadays. I know what I have to do to play football at the highest level."

Since turning professional in 2000, the freshly-crowned Dutch Sportsman of the Year has scarcely completed a season without some sort of malaise, yet it would appear those troublesome complaints are now on the wane. The Bedum native missed only four games through injury last term and has sat out just as few half way into Bayern's seemingly unstoppable pursuit of a 24th Bundesliga title in 2014/15.

'Great first half of the season'

"It's been a great first half of the season," Robben continued. "We still haven't lost a game [in the league], and that after having very little rest in the summer, as well as loads of injuries. It feels good [to have a bit of time off], but we have to work really hard [at the Doha training camp] because we've got some massive games coming up in the Rückrunde."

Bayern get the competitive calendar back underway at second-placed VfL Wolfsburg on 30 January, and then there's that little matter of FC Shakhtar Donetsk in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. The five-time European champions wrapped up top spot in Group E with two games to spare, but still have some way to go to right the wrongs of last season's 5-0 aggregate defeat to eventual winners Real Madrid CF in the last four.

'Shakhtar won't be easy'

"After we were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid we were all very, very disappointed," Robben recalled. "[But this season's group campaign] was unbelievable […] We could have drawn Juventus, Arsenal or Paris, but Donetsk are tougher because we don't know too much about them. It won't be easy to progress. It's two finals. We'll have to give it everything to get through."

It's a familiar refrain from an integral member of one of world football's most successful and ambitious clubs, albeit one which carries particular currency in light of last April's semi-final demise. Bayern fans like to remind their vintage Oranje of his 2012/13 Champions League-clinching heroics with the chant "Der Arjen hat’s gemacht" (Arjen's Done It), but if the recently ended calendar year is anything to go by they might have to add zweimal (twice) to the equation in just over five months' time.

Christopher Mayer-Lodge