Arjen Robben set to miss Der Klassiker but hopeful of final Bayern Munich appearance | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 28.03.2019
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Arjen Robben set to miss Der Klassiker but hopeful of final Bayern Munich appearance

Clashes with Borussia Dortmund have been pivotal in Arjen Robben's long Bayern Munich career, with memories good and bad. But the Dutchman admits injury is likely to deny him a last chance to face Bayern's title rivals.

As the opponent he's both faced and lost against most in his career, those with an eye for a narrative arc would have hoped Arjen Robben might have played one last time against Borussia Dortmund, before leaving Bayern Munich and riding off in to the sunset.

But the 35-year-old Dutch winger, who will leave the club he joined in 2009 at the end of the season, believes the April 6 meeting will come too soon.

"I still don't know whether I will be fit, we will have to see, but I think it is probably unrealistic," Robben told Munich newspaper Abendzeitung on Wednesday. 

"I am on the road to recovery, but I am not yet training with the team," he added. "I think it will take a bit more time. All I can do is keep working hard and fighting to get back on the pitch."

Road to redemption

The man who scored the 89th-minute winning goal against Dortmund in the 2013 Champions League final has also had low moments in his 19 meetings with the Black and Yellows. Perhaps the nadir came 13 months earlier, in April 2012, when his penalty miss drew taunts from Neven Subotic, whose Dortmund side would eventually go on to win the title.

Arjen Robben lifts the trophy after scoring a late winner in the 2013 Champions League final (picture alliance/augenklick)

Arjen Robben lifts the trophy after scoring a late winner in the 2013 Champions League final

The redemption that came with that late goal at Wembley in 2013 has been something of a theme throughout Robben's career, with a succession of serious injuries failing to slow down a player whose pace has always been high on his list of assets. And he believes he'll get at least one more chance to add a footnote to a highly-decorated career.

"These are my last two months at a club where I have spent 10 years. I want to play again, to pull on the shirt one more time," he said. "That is the most important thing for me. I don't care which game it is."

Whether he'll also be able to add an eighth Bundesliga title will be decided not just by Der Klassiker next weekend but by Bayern and Dortmund's other seven fixtures between now and the end of the season.

Dortmund injuries clearing ahead of Wolfsburg visit

The run in starts this weekend, with Bayern, in ominous form, traveling to Freiburg, and Dortmund hosting a Wolfsburg side on a strong run - other than a 6-0 pasting from Bayern at the start of the month.

Mario Götze has recovered from a rib injury (picture-alliance/M. Meissner)

Mario Götze has recovered from a rib injury

The Bavarians, who top the table on goal difference and splashed the cash on Lucas Hernandez in midweek, have few other injury concerns while the fitness woes that have hampered Dortmund's fluency in recent weeks seem also to be clearing.

"The boys have come back fit from the international break," reported BVB coach Lucien Favre on Thursday. "Only Christian Pulisic, unfortunately, has returned with a pulled muscle in his leg.

"(Mario) Götze,  (Paco) Alcacer, and (Axel) Witsel have all been training since last Thursday and we hope to have them fit for Saturday."

Though he didn't mention it, Favre will also be desperate to keep Marco Reus, who missed most of Germany's win over the Netherlands with a thigh complaint, fit for the run in and particularly the clash with Bayern at the Allianz Arena. It looks like, for a change, Robben won't be lining up in opposition. But if the Dutch winger has his way, the Bundesliga will see him again. Or get a glimpse at least.

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