Champions League - Bitter Robben refuses to take penalty over dispute with Pep

Arjen Robben's petulant refusal to take a penalty overshadowed Bayern Munich's scintillating win in the Champions League.


Bayern enjoyed a superb 5-0 win over Viktoria Plzen with Frenchman Franck Ribery scoring twice in the Allianz Arena - but one of those was a 25th minute penalty that Dutchman Robben refused to take, despite being designated to do so by coach Pep Guardiola.

The winger's anger stemmed from Guardiola's decision to allow Thomas Mueller to take a spot kick in Bayern's league win over Mainz 05 on Saturday after Robben had picked up the ball and wanted to take it himself.

The bizarre sight of Guardiola shouting "Arjen, Arjen" from the touchline as Ribery tried to give the ball to a reluctant Robben suggested the breach of discipline would be greeted with serious consequences for the Dutchman.

"I like it when players have character and take the ball and want to shoot the penalty," Guardiola said. "I wanted Arjen to take it," the Spaniard added, despite another convincing performance that suggests last season's treble winners are looking ominously stronger this campaign.

Robben may have spurned the chance to convert a penalty awarded for a foul on him, but his overall performance was stellar, and Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness was left admiring his team, comparing winger Franck Ribery to a juggler as the Champions League holders made it three wins out of three in this year's competition.

"Our team has been playing outstanding football in the past few weeks," a beaming Hoeness told reporters. "What Franck does with the ball is like (1920s juggler) Rastelli. He just oozes football joy."

Bayern are top of Group D on a maximum nine points and can secure a spot in the round of 16 with victory at Plzen on the next matchday.

"We can play even better but what is important now is to improve in the league," Guardiola said. "Our four games in Europe (including the Super Cup final win over Chelsea) were very good but we can do even better."

Guardiola's assessment will sound like music to his boardroom's ears, with Bayen racking up record revenues, as well as ticket and shirt sales as they aim to become the first team to defend a Champions League crown.

Their form is even more impressive given they have had plenty of injury setbacks with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Goetze only just reaching full fitness.

Holding midfielder and Spain international Javi Martinez is yet to return from a groin injury and so is countryman Thiago Alcantara, a 25 million euro signing from Barcelona in the close season.

On Wednesday, Bayern were also missing their first choice central defensive partnership with Dante out injured and Jerome Boateng suspended but the outclassed Czech's solitary shot on goal proved their absence went virtually unnoticed.

"It does not matter who is playing because the amount of quality on the pitch is unparalleled in Europe," Hoeness said.

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