In our last episode, we took a look at Manuel Neuer and Thomas Müller, the only two players to have fully completed the decade of Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga wins. Today, we take a look at another player, someone who may not have won every one of the 10 titles with the team, but someone who played an immense part in a large chunk of them.
Bayern Munich made history by winning their tenth straight Bundesliga title in a row, a new record for Europe’s top five leagues. The Serienmeister Stream is a ten-part stream that covers ten special aspects of that glorious decade-long run. Enjoy!
As a series that celebrates Bayern’s 10 straight Bundesliga titles, it goes without saying that there needs to be a piece commemorating the best No. 10 the club has ever seen. His name? Arjen Robben.
This man was one of Bayern’s biggest stars, and he cemented his status as a true Bayern legend during his ten seasons at the club. He was without a doubt one of the best players in Bayern’s long and rich history. Every Bayern fan knows his name and remembers him fondly. While Philippe Coutinho and Leroy Sané have both worn the 10 during Bayern’s ten title winning years, none of them hold a candle to what Robben has done for the club during his time in Munich.
Robben instantly became Bayern’s best player when he joined in the 2009/10 season, and led them to a domestic double as well as a Champions League final. However, the next two seasons were not easy for the Flying Dutchman, and he even went as far as to being booed by his own home crowd. Injuries also plagued Robben, and he ended up missing a sizable chunk of the 2012/13 season’s Hinrunde.
But that would change soon enough. Once he got back on his feet, Robben began showing his true colors game after game. He ended the Bundesliga season with five goals and seven assists, not a bad haul for someone who missed half a season. His performances were not limited to the Bundesliga, as he recorded four goals and three assists in five DFB-Pokal games, and, well, we all know what happened on that fateful night at Wembley.
Having completely shaken off his demons, Robben performed admirably in the 2013/14 season, not missing too many games, scoring 11 goals and assisting six more. He won his third Bundesliga title, and the fastest one yet. Fears that his style would not be valued under Pep Guardiola’s reign were quickly extinguished, and he picked up right where he left off in the 2014/15 season. Although his season was cut short in March, he still notched up 17 goals and 7 assists, his best Bundesliga season record for Bayern. Needless to say, he was instrumental in Bayern’s third title win in as many years.
The 2015/16 season was not too kind to Robben, as he only played 15 league games due to another series of injuries. But the following season proved that his class was more than permanent. Robben scored 13 goals and assisted 11, enjoying one of his most prolific Bayern seasons as his team won yet another Bundesliga. Bayern fans will still fondly remember his last second dash and goal against RB Leipzig on the penultimate matchday.
Although the 2017/18 season wasn’t as productive as some other seasons were, Robben still enjoyed some good games, even donning the captain’s armband a number of times in the absences of both Neuer and Müller. Under Robben’s leadership(?), the team picked up maximum points in every single game he wore the armband.
We now come to the final season of Robben’s Bayern career, and due to a fair amount of strange injuries, he only played 12 league games. However, he still ended his Bayern tenure with a huge bang, scoring the team’s final Bundesliga goal of the season in the title decider against Eintracht Frankfurt, which also happened to be Robben’s final game in front of the Allianz Arena faithful. It was a fitting farewell to a legend who had long written his name in Bayern’s history books. Having won seven straight Bundesliga titles, plus one in his first season with the club, Robben said goodbye.
Robben may not have been the most physically stable player in the world; in fact, injuries were the main reason why his career didn’t rise to the highs it probably should have. That said, they didn’t hamper him from making a myriad of fantastic memories with the club. Friend, foe, and fan alike knew his signature move of cutting inside on his left foot and letting it rip, but no one could stop it. It was something that Robben had perfected himself, and no player does it better than him. It was a true pleasure to see him run down the wing, and it was a shame when he finally called time on his Bayern years.
Having Robben wear the No. 10 shirt for Bayern was a privilege that few other clubs could dare to match, and it was also a fully deserved number for a very special player. The legacy of Robben’s 10 still lives on, and the number has yet to be worn by a worthy successor. One could say that Bayern’s 10 straight title wins were, among other things, a great tribute to the club’s greatest ever 10 to grace the field.
Without Robben, the 10 straight titles would not have been possible. True, the same could be said for a lot of players, but Robben definitely deserves an honorable mention. After all, his number represents one of the greatest, if not the greatest, achievements in Europe’s top five leagues, and he played a major role in the process.
We salute you, Arjen. May your future endeavors be filled with as much joy as your Bayern career.