Arjen Robben told uefa.com he was being forced to raise his game by a busy schedule at FC Bayern München after his side earned a 3-0 win at Maccabi Haifa FC in their Group A opener.
Feeling the strain
Signed from Real Madrid CF this summer, winger Robben tore into Haifa on Tuesday. However, by the time Bayern won the game, with a Daniel Van Buyten strike followed by two late Thomas Müller efforts, the 25-year-old was starting to feel the strain through a combination of regular games and energy-sapping weather in Tel-Aviv.
"The weather was quite hot but in the end it is for both teams," the Dutch international told uefa.com. "Maybe they are used to it a bit more than us. I think it played a part, especially in the second half as I could feel the heat, as well as feeling a bit more tired than normal but you still have to play.
"Now I have to get used to playing a lot of games," he added. "In pre-season with Real Madrid I didn't play all that much. Now I have played three times, 80 to 90 minutes, in six days so I felt it, especially in this game. It's good though as I have to get through this and get my rhythm back and show that I can be important for the team."
Robben said his side were deserved winners against opponents who were never going to make their lives easy. "We knew before the game that Haifa had a good team so it was going to be a difficult game," he said. "They had good results in the past against some big teams so we knew what to expect and I think we played well and deserved to win.
"Our main target is reaching the next phase of the tournament," he added. "We started off well and it's always good to have a good start." A 1-1 draw between fellow Group A rivals Juventus and FC Girondins de Bordeaux added to Bayern's joy ahead of their home tie against Juve in two weeks' time. "If we win that game we are in a good position already," Robben said.
In for the kill
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the chairman of the Bayern board, told uefa.com that "Bordeaux and Juve will not find it easy to score three goals here", while Haifa's South African full-back Tsepo Masilela added: "After Bayern scored the first goal we wanted to equalise; we opened up some space and they scored the second and the third. Everyone knows how good they are: good players, good technique, they are a great side."
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