Bayern Munich's Dutch winger Arjen Robben has said he needs more matches to get back to his best and hopes to play a role in Tuesday's UEFA Champions League match with pointless Spanish side Villarreal. Robben made a surprise start for Bayern yesterday when he played for the German league leaders in the 1-0 defeat at home to champions Borussia Dortmund.
It was Robben's first match since groin surgery in October, but with midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger injured and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk suspended, coach Jupp Heynckes opted to play the Dutchman for just over 70 minutes. "Normally you start on the bench after such a long injury break," said Robben.
Tymoshchuk will be available to play against the Spaniards, but Robben wants more game time to help recapture his form. "I need the rhythm, I need games to get fit and to get back to my level," he said. "The coach asked me on Friday if I wanted to play from the start and I said, let's do it. I have made a few brief appearances, which I don't count, so I would say I have been out for three months. It was good to be back on the pitch."
Robben was happy with his performance in a bruising match. "This was not an easy game with which to start again," said the Dutchman. "This was something entirely different from training. I am satisfied that I managed to get through the 70 minutes."
Bayern are three points clear at the top of Group A and a win on Tuesday would put them in the knock-out stages. Villarreal are bottom of the table with four defeats from four games but they warmed-up for the Bayern clash with a 1-0 win over Real Betis in the Spanish league.