Robben: Not one percent less than last week
The whole of the Netherlands is abuzz with anticipation. “Yes, we Dutch are celebrating," confirmed Arjen Robben on the day before Queen Beatrix abdicates after 33 years on the throne and hands over to her son Willem-Alexander. “But unfortunately, I won't be able to watch live on TV," continued Robben. At the same time as the ceremonial act of coronation and appearances on the Royal Palace balcony in Amsterdam, the ultra-quick winger will be surrounded by his Bayern team-mates on the flight to Barcelona for the Champions League semi-final return. Robben is consumed with motivation in the build-up to the match: “We want to make the final, and that means playing just as well as we did in the first leg – not one single per cent less!"
Bayern lead 4-0 going into the return against the Catalan giants. “The biggest mistake we could possibly make would be to think we're already through to the final," Arjen warned, “if there is a team capable of correcting a four-goal deficit, it’s Barcelona. Maybe we'll have to concentrate even harder than the 100 percent we managed in the home game, from the first minute onwards."
Manuel Neuer expressed similar opinions. “We have to invest everything to avoid a catastrophe," said the FCB keeper, recalling both Bayern's 4-0 defeat in Barcelona four years ago, and also this season's Round of 16, where Barcelona were two goals down to AC Milan going into the home leg, but triumphed 4-0. “They're wounded but they'll still do everything they can to make the final," commented Neuer, “they'll put us under incredible pressure."
Ready for everything
The 90,000-plus crowd at Camp Nou will make their usual contribution. Neuer, who appeared at the stadium for Schalke in a 1-0 Champions League quarter-final defeat in 2007/08, has not forgotten two particular aspects, “the special atmosphere - and how the ball boys reacted to Barcelona taking the lead. They stopped throwing the balls back onto the pitch. I kept coming close to a yellow card, because it made me so mad. So it could be that the balls fly back onto the pitch very quickly on Wednesday."
“We have to be ready for everything, including quick ball boys," agreed Robben, who has not finished on the losing side in three visits to Camp Nou so far: he was a winner with Real Madrid, and played out two draws with Chelsea. “It's a superb stadium with a superb atmosphere," continued the Dutchman, urging his team-mates not to neglect attack in their efforts to keep it tight at the back: “Barcelona are well aware that if we score, they need six." Like all the FCB stars, Robben is utterly determined to realise the dream and help Bayern make a third appearance in the final in the last four seasons.