More than five months of anticipation and uncertainty about Arjen Robben’s return to the squad came to an on Sunday, during Bayern Munich’s derby against FC Nürnberg. The Dutchman was included in the squad that travelled to Max-Morlock Stadion. Regrettably, Robben didn’t get a chance to make his comeback and had to sit through 90 minutes on the bench.
James Rodriguez, who came in on the 57th minute couldn’t continue much longer and was substituted in the 73rd minute for Alphonso Davies, who later conceded a penalty in the final minute of regular time — which, fortunately, hit the woodwork, allowing Bayern go home with a point in hand. Several people criticised Niko Kovač’s decision to bring on the inexperienced Canadian and were disappointed to see Robben remain on the bench for the entire match.
Kovač cleared the air between the frustrated fans and explained why he kept the Dutchman on bench. According to the coach, Robben had agreed to stay on the bench if things didn't work out well for Bayern. It is normal for players to feel less confident when coming back after recovering from serious injuries and that’s exactly what happened with Robben. He said (AZ):
I already spoke with Arjen before the game. He felt that he was able to play only if the result was definitely in our favour. In a close game, in which things really were serious, he wouldn't have felt confident. (...) That’s why we didn’t take any risks with Arjen.
As of now, things look good and we can hundred percent expect Robben’s presence in the upcoming league match against Hannover 96 on Saturday.