Bayern return to Bundesliga after German Cup win
BERLIN (AFP) –
Dutch star Arjen Robben is prepared to return to Bayern Munich’s bench for Sunday’s Bundesliga match at Hoffenheim even though his thunderbolt goal in midweek knocked holders Dortmund out of the German Cup.
Robben’s first-half strike clocked 70mph (115km/h) when it hit the net to give Bayern a 1-0 home win over the holders in the quarter-final of the German Cup on Wednesday.
It broke Bayern’s six-game winless streak against Dortmund in the league and cup with Robben claiming his third goal in the last four games ahead of Sunday’s trip to south-west Germany to face struggling Hoffenheim.
With France star Franck Ribery now available after his cup suspension, Robben has said he is happy to go back to the bench if coach Jupp Heynckes opts to leave him there for a game that will see Hoffenheim chase a first win over Bayern at the 10th attempt.
“I’m waiting quietly to hear who’ll play, we all depend on the coach — ultimately it’s his decision,” said Robben after training on Thursday.
“The goal was good for me, but it wasn’t just me it helped.
“I feel and know that I am on the right path.
“The situation is complicated, I haven’t just been left on the bench, I had a few injuries last year, which had nothing to do with the quality of my football.”
While Bayern president Uli Hoeness proudly boasted the Bavarians had proved they are “back on top and the best team in Germany” after beating Dortmund, it is now back to business at Hoffenheim.
With Dortmund out, Bayern are firm favourites to lift the German Cup in the final on June 1 and are 17 points clear of the defending champions atop the Bundesliga.
They are also still in the frame to become the first German team to win an historic treble after impressive displays in the Champions League including the 3-1 win at Arsenal in the first leg of their last 16 clash.
While Bayern are chasing their 20th league win from 24 games so far this season, Hoffenheim have just four Bundesliga victories to their credit and lie second from bottom.
Hoffenheim have won only one of their last 13 games while Bayern are on a nine-game winning run.
“Perhaps this is the right time for our team to play this game,” said Hoffenheim general manager Andreas Mueller.
“It’s a good chance to test ourselves against presently the best team in Europe, but three points are still at stake.”
In Saturday’s matches, Borussia Dortmund warmed up for their looming Champions League clash at home to Shakhtar Donetsk with a 3-1 win over Hanover 96 to stay second in the Bundesliga.
Schalke, who host Dortmund in next Saturday’s Ruhr derby, are up to sixth after they beat Wolfsburg 4-1 with 19-year-old midfielder Julian Draxler involved in the first three goals.
Bremen suffered their third straight defeat, dropping to 13th, after they suffered a 1-0 win at home to Augsburg, who remain third from bottom, while Nuremberg moved up to 12th with a 1-1 draw at home against Freiburg.
Hoffenheim v Bayern Munich, Fortuna Duesseldorf v Mainz 05 (1630)