Robben red-faced by key penalty miss
BERLIN - Agence France-PresseBayern Munich’s Arjen Robben has admitted he was embarrassed by his crucial penalty miss in his team’s 1-0 defeat at German league leaders Dortmund which looks to have handed their rivals the title.
Robben could only watch in horror as his 86th-minute penalty attempt was saved by Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller with second-placed Bayern trailing at Borussia’s Signal Iduna Park stadium on April 11.
The defeat leaves Munich six points behind Dortmund with four games left and Robben’s miss means Dortmund are on course for a second consecutive league title.
“That is very bitter and very disappointing,” said Robben.
“In the last three years I have converted 10 or 11 penalties in succession.
“That was the first one I have missed and, yes, that was really embarrassing.”
After Poland striker Robert Lewandowski gave Dortmund the lead with a 77th-minute goal, Robben was brought down by Weidenfeller nine minutes later in the area and referee Knut Kircher immediately awarded the penalty.
Robben fired too close to Weidenfeller who gratefully saved the shot and was immediately mobbed by his team-mates.
The Munich star then fired over the bar with the goal at his mercy just before the final whistle as Bayern desperately chased the equalising goal.
After the final whistle, Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes refused to point the finger of blame at Robben.
“Normally, he is a very reliable penalty taker,” said Heynckes.
“He has played well in the last few weeks and I don’t blame him, he was the most annoyed by his miss.”
But ex-Munich president Franz Beckenbauer has said Robben should not have taken the penalty.
“He is a world class-player, he will get over it, but for me, he should not have taken the shot,” said Beckenbauer, who coached Germany to the 1990 World Cup title.
“As a coach, I had the rule that any player who is fouled doesn’t shoot.
“Maybe that is no longer the rule with Bayern or maybe it has not got through to Holland yet.”
Bayern now faces an uphill task to usurp Dortmund and Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge admitted: “I am 99 percent sure that Dortmund will be German champions.”