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Classic Final Goals

Robben's Redemption

Arjen Robben was a master of the ferocious finish, but that’s not how he won the 2013 final

WORDS Sheridan Bird | ILLUSTRATION Osvaldo Casanova‍

A flick, bobble, skip and a scuff.  That’s the sequence of Arjen Robben’s goal to win the 2013 Champions League final. In the context of his fabulous canon of work, it’s a scruffy goal – but it was the most important of his career. Untypical yet historic because it secured a first treble for Bayern München.

Dynamic Dutch winger Robben had his own house speciality, a trademark move imprinted on the minds of fans, defenders and goalkeepers alike. But he strayed from his typical repertoire when it counted most – and in doing so he was able to banish years of disappointment on that spring evening at Wembley.

But first a recap: what was an “Arjen Robben classic”? Think a cocktail of speed, marksmanship and determination which everyone knew was coming but few could prevent. Usually, the No10 picked up the ball on the right touchline, anywhere between five and 35 metres from the goal line. He normally took on one, two, three defenders before cutting inside and dispatching the ball into the far corner with his left foot. Sometimes with power, often with curl, regularly with both. He did it to Roma, Manchester United, Juventus, Barcelona and Fiorentina. You’ve seen the routine. He was so effective and lethal that the German press began to call him “that little devil-man”.

The Robben special was a staple of European football, predictable yet perilous, a PlayStation routine performed by flesh and blood. You didn’t need to be Nostradamus to see what was coming. However, through a combination of bad luck and intelligent marking, he had never unleashed it in a final.

In fact, his relationship with the decisive match had been painful. The former Groningen starlet couldn’t outwit old Chelsea team-mate Petr Čech from the spot in extra time of the 2012 final and the Blues took the cup back to London. Two years before that, José Mourinho’s highly organised Inter side kept him at bay at the Bernabéu; Robben and Bayern were on the wrong side of a 2-0 scoreline.

A flick, bobble, skip and a scuff.  That’s the sequence of Arjen Robben’s goal to win the 2013 Champions League final. In the context of his fabulous canon of work, it’s a scruffy goal – but it was the most important of his career. Untypical yet historic because it secured a first treble for Bayern München.

Dynamic Dutch winger Robben had his own house speciality, a trademark move imprinted on the minds of fans, defenders and goalkeepers alike. But he strayed from his typical repertoire when it counted most – and in doing so he was able to banish years of disappointment on that spring evening at Wembley.

But first a recap: what was an “Arjen Robben classic”? Think a cocktail of speed, marksmanship and determination which everyone knew was coming but few could prevent. Usually, the No10 picked up the ball on the right touchline, anywhere between five and 35 metres from the goal line. He normally took on one, two, three defenders before cutting inside and dispatching the ball into the far corner with his left foot. Sometimes with power, often with curl, regularly with both. He did it to Roma, Manchester United, Juventus, Barcelona and Fiorentina. You’ve seen the routine. He was so effective and lethal that the German press began to call him “that little devil-man”.

The Robben special was a staple of European football, predictable yet perilous, a PlayStation routine performed by flesh and blood. You didn’t need to be Nostradamus to see what was coming. However, through a combination of bad luck and intelligent marking, he had never unleashed it in a final.

In fact, his relationship with the decisive match had been painful. The former Groningen starlet couldn’t outwit old Chelsea team-mate Petr Čech from the spot in extra time of the 2012 final and the Blues took the cup back to London. Two years before that, José Mourinho’s highly organised Inter side kept him at bay at the Bernabéu; Robben and Bayern were on the wrong side of a 2-0 scoreline.

Read the full story
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All that accumulated frustration melted away around 90 seconds from the end of normal time in 2013. Die Roten were level with fellow Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund and extra time was calling. Croatian warhorse Mario Mandžukić had put the Bavarians ahead on the hour, but İlkay Gündoğan equalised with a penalty eight minutes later.

As the game drifted towards the final whistle, Bayern attacked unrelentingly. The treble-chasers were an imposing, all-terrain side brimming with powerhouse athletes, deploying a vertical brand of football. Robben and Franck Ribéry provided the guile and wizardry on either wing, and they wanted to give departing boss Jupp Heynckes the dream farewell gift before retirement. In the end, it was the most un-Robben of moments which catapulted them into ecstasy.

From close to the halfway line, centre-back Jérôme Boateng hammered the ball forward to Ribéry, who was occupying half the Dortmund rearguard outside the box. Despite being one of the smallest men in Bayern’s team, the Frenchman was also the strongest, and with his back to goal he controlled the ball on his thigh.

Sensing possibility, Robben galloped down the middle, leaving everyone else looking static as he raced into the area – a runaway train barrelling past a clump of trees. Quick thinking and quick feet had created an opening, and Ribéry’s onboard computer was no less swift as he back-heeled towards his fellow winger, the ball taking a deflection off Łukasz Piszczek to send it tantalisingly into Robben’s path.

The former Real Madrid player accepted the invitation. Skipping over Mats Hummels’ last-ditch lunge, he was now through on Roman Weidenfeller’s goal. The same Weidenfeller who had just batted away vicious strikes from David Alaba and Bastian Schweinsteiger. But the BVB keeper was helpless against the weakest shot of the night as Robben guided the ball to his left with an awkward combination of ankle and foot. Not the most solid connection of his 20-year career, and yet off it rolled.

The ball travelled over the line almost apologetically – but the goalscorer wasn’t saying sorry as he ran towards the scarlet-clad spectators seconds later. Bayern were champions of Europe  and it was Dortmund’s turn to feel the heartbreak Robben knew only too well. A flick, bobble, skip and a scuff… culminating in redemption for the deadly Dutchman.  

A flick, bobble, skip and a scuff.  That’s the sequence of Arjen Robben’s goal to win the 2013 Champions League final. In the context of his fabulous canon of work, it’s a scruffy goal – but it was the most important of his career. Untypical yet historic because it secured a first treble for Bayern München.

Dynamic Dutch winger Robben had his own house speciality, a trademark move imprinted on the minds of fans, defenders and goalkeepers alike. But he strayed from his typical repertoire when it counted most – and in doing so he was able to banish years of disappointment on that spring evening at Wembley.

But first a recap: what was an “Arjen Robben classic”? Think a cocktail of speed, marksmanship and determination which everyone knew was coming but few could prevent. Usually, the No10 picked up the ball on the right touchline, anywhere between five and 35 metres from the goal line. He normally took on one, two, three defenders before cutting inside and dispatching the ball into the far corner with his left foot. Sometimes with power, often with curl, regularly with both. He did it to Roma, Manchester United, Juventus, Barcelona and Fiorentina. You’ve seen the routine. He was so effective and lethal that the German press began to call him “that little devil-man”.

The Robben special was a staple of European football, predictable yet perilous, a PlayStation routine performed by flesh and blood. You didn’t need to be Nostradamus to see what was coming. However, through a combination of bad luck and intelligent marking, he had never unleashed it in a final.

In fact, his relationship with the decisive match had been painful. The former Groningen starlet couldn’t outwit old Chelsea team-mate Petr Čech from the spot in extra time of the 2012 final and the Blues took the cup back to London. Two years before that, José Mourinho’s highly organised Inter side kept him at bay at the Bernabéu; Robben and Bayern were on the wrong side of a 2-0 scoreline.

Robben's Redemption
Classic Final Goals

Robben's Redemption

Arjen Robben was a master of the ferocious finish, but that’s not how he won the 2013 final

WORDS Sheridan Bird | ILLUSTRATION Osvaldo Casanova‍

A flick, bobble, skip and a scuff.  That’s the sequence of Arjen Robben’s goal to win the 2013 Champions League final. In the context of his fabulous canon of work, it’s a scruffy goal – but it was the most important of his career. Untypical yet historic because it secured a first treble for Bayern München.

Dynamic Dutch winger Robben had his own house speciality, a trademark move imprinted on the minds of fans, defenders and goalkeepers alike. But he strayed from his typical repertoire when it counted most – and in doing so he was able to banish years of disappointment on that spring evening at Wembley.

But first a recap: what was an “Arjen Robben classic”? Think a cocktail of speed, marksmanship and determination which everyone knew was coming but few could prevent. Usually, the No10 picked up the ball on the right touchline, anywhere between five and 35 metres from the goal line. He normally took on one, two, three defenders before cutting inside and dispatching the ball into the far corner with his left foot. Sometimes with power, often with curl, regularly with both. He did it to Roma, Manchester United, Juventus, Barcelona and Fiorentina. You’ve seen the routine. He was so effective and lethal that the German press began to call him “that little devil-man”.

The Robben special was a staple of European football, predictable yet perilous, a PlayStation routine performed by flesh and blood. You didn’t need to be Nostradamus to see what was coming. However, through a combination of bad luck and intelligent marking, he had never unleashed it in a final.

In fact, his relationship with the decisive match had been painful. The former Groningen starlet couldn’t outwit old Chelsea team-mate Petr Čech from the spot in extra time of the 2012 final and the Blues took the cup back to London. Two years before that, José Mourinho’s highly organised Inter side kept him at bay at the Bernabéu; Robben and Bayern were on the wrong side of a 2-0 scoreline.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

A flick, bobble, skip and a scuff.  That’s the sequence of Arjen Robben’s goal to win the 2013 Champions League final. In the context of his fabulous canon of work, it’s a scruffy goal – but it was the most important of his career. Untypical yet historic because it secured a first treble for Bayern München.

Dynamic Dutch winger Robben had his own house speciality, a trademark move imprinted on the minds of fans, defenders and goalkeepers alike. But he strayed from his typical repertoire when it counted most – and in doing so he was able to banish years of disappointment on that spring evening at Wembley.

But first a recap: what was an “Arjen Robben classic”? Think a cocktail of speed, marksmanship and determination which everyone knew was coming but few could prevent. Usually, the No10 picked up the ball on the right touchline, anywhere between five and 35 metres from the goal line. He normally took on one, two, three defenders before cutting inside and dispatching the ball into the far corner with his left foot. Sometimes with power, often with curl, regularly with both. He did it to Roma, Manchester United, Juventus, Barcelona and Fiorentina. You’ve seen the routine. He was so effective and lethal that the German press began to call him “that little devil-man”.

The Robben special was a staple of European football, predictable yet perilous, a PlayStation routine performed by flesh and blood. You didn’t need to be Nostradamus to see what was coming. However, through a combination of bad luck and intelligent marking, he had never unleashed it in a final.

In fact, his relationship with the decisive match had been painful. The former Groningen starlet couldn’t outwit old Chelsea team-mate Petr Čech from the spot in extra time of the 2012 final and the Blues took the cup back to London. Two years before that, José Mourinho’s highly organised Inter side kept him at bay at the Bernabéu; Robben and Bayern were on the wrong side of a 2-0 scoreline.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

All that accumulated frustration melted away around 90 seconds from the end of normal time in 2013. Die Roten were level with fellow Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund and extra time was calling. Croatian warhorse Mario Mandžukić had put the Bavarians ahead on the hour, but İlkay Gündoğan equalised with a penalty eight minutes later.

As the game drifted towards the final whistle, Bayern attacked unrelentingly. The treble-chasers were an imposing, all-terrain side brimming with powerhouse athletes, deploying a vertical brand of football. Robben and Franck Ribéry provided the guile and wizardry on either wing, and they wanted to give departing boss Jupp Heynckes the dream farewell gift before retirement. In the end, it was the most un-Robben of moments which catapulted them into ecstasy.

From close to the halfway line, centre-back Jérôme Boateng hammered the ball forward to Ribéry, who was occupying half the Dortmund rearguard outside the box. Despite being one of the smallest men in Bayern’s team, the Frenchman was also the strongest, and with his back to goal he controlled the ball on his thigh.

Sensing possibility, Robben galloped down the middle, leaving everyone else looking static as he raced into the area – a runaway train barrelling past a clump of trees. Quick thinking and quick feet had created an opening, and Ribéry’s onboard computer was no less swift as he back-heeled towards his fellow winger, the ball taking a deflection off Łukasz Piszczek to send it tantalisingly into Robben’s path.

The former Real Madrid player accepted the invitation. Skipping over Mats Hummels’ last-ditch lunge, he was now through on Roman Weidenfeller’s goal. The same Weidenfeller who had just batted away vicious strikes from David Alaba and Bastian Schweinsteiger. But the BVB keeper was helpless against the weakest shot of the night as Robben guided the ball to his left with an awkward combination of ankle and foot. Not the most solid connection of his 20-year career, and yet off it rolled.

The ball travelled over the line almost apologetically – but the goalscorer wasn’t saying sorry as he ran towards the scarlet-clad spectators seconds later. Bayern were champions of Europe  and it was Dortmund’s turn to feel the heartbreak Robben knew only too well. A flick, bobble, skip and a scuff… culminating in redemption for the deadly Dutchman.  

A flick, bobble, skip and a scuff.  That’s the sequence of Arjen Robben’s goal to win the 2013 Champions League final. In the context of his fabulous canon of work, it’s a scruffy goal – but it was the most important of his career. Untypical yet historic because it secured a first treble for Bayern München.

Dynamic Dutch winger Robben had his own house speciality, a trademark move imprinted on the minds of fans, defenders and goalkeepers alike. But he strayed from his typical repertoire when it counted most – and in doing so he was able to banish years of disappointment on that spring evening at Wembley.

But first a recap: what was an “Arjen Robben classic”? Think a cocktail of speed, marksmanship and determination which everyone knew was coming but few could prevent. Usually, the No10 picked up the ball on the right touchline, anywhere between five and 35 metres from the goal line. He normally took on one, two, three defenders before cutting inside and dispatching the ball into the far corner with his left foot. Sometimes with power, often with curl, regularly with both. He did it to Roma, Manchester United, Juventus, Barcelona and Fiorentina. You’ve seen the routine. He was so effective and lethal that the German press began to call him “that little devil-man”.

The Robben special was a staple of European football, predictable yet perilous, a PlayStation routine performed by flesh and blood. You didn’t need to be Nostradamus to see what was coming. However, through a combination of bad luck and intelligent marking, he had never unleashed it in a final.

In fact, his relationship with the decisive match had been painful. The former Groningen starlet couldn’t outwit old Chelsea team-mate Petr Čech from the spot in extra time of the 2012 final and the Blues took the cup back to London. Two years before that, José Mourinho’s highly organised Inter side kept him at bay at the Bernabéu; Robben and Bayern were on the wrong side of a 2-0 scoreline.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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