Arjen Robben is relishing the start of a new era at FC Bayern, with the ex-Chelsea star full of praise for boss Pep Guardiola and what he will bring to the club.
It has been suggested in some quarters that the former Barcelona manager has his work cut out after seeing predecessor Jupp Heynckes deliver the treble last term.
However, Robben insists the players are excited about Guardiola’s philosophy – which brought him an incredible 14 trophies in four seasons at the Nou Camp – and are feeling confident about the challenges lying ahead.
“I like [his philosophy] and so does the team,” said the Dutchman in an exclusive interview with bwin, which you can watch by opening the player at the top of the page.
“It’s a new start for me with a new manager and I have a really good feeling about it.
“I have said it a few times already but I think that I can still take a few steps further forwards and I hope it will be a successful season.”
Guardiola has already signed playmaker Thiago Alcantara from his former employers in a £17m deal, while Mario Gotze was lured from Borussia Dortmund and defender Jan Kirchhoff has arrived from Mainz.
With the nucleus of last year’s all-conquering team still in place – only Mario Gomez has departed to Fiorentina – Robben believes Guardiola will be focusing on evolution rather than revolution.
“Although there are quite a few good new ideas, we don’t need to exaggerate as we’re not suddenly going to play completely differently,” he said.
“I think the most important thing is that, with the exception of Gomez, all of the old players are still here and that we have gained three very good new players.”
Robben, of course, penned the final chapter of Bayern’s incredible campaign by scoring the winning goal in the Champions League final as Dortmund were defeated 2-1 at Wembley in May.
Jurgen Klopp’s men were also forced to play second fiddle to Bayern in the Bundesliga and the German Cup, but they drew first blood this season with their recent 4-2 victory in the German Super Cup.
Robben admits he is expecting another strong challenge from their main rivals for domestic silverware.
“I think Dortmund will certainly be up there again and they will possibly be our biggest opponent,” he said.
“But I also believe that there are a number of other very good teams in the Bundesliga. It will be a huge challenge for us and we are all looking forward to getting started again.”
Robben will expect to be involved as Bayern bring the curtain up on the new league season on Friday against Borussia Monchengladbach at the Allianz Arena, with bwin making them strong 13/100 favourites for the win.
But despite witnessing the Bavarians thump Gladbach 5-1 in the recent Telekom Cup pre-season tournament, the 29-year-old is taking nothing for granted.
“It was good to beat them but that was it,” he added.
“Our preparations are continuing and we need to keep up our progress so that we are 100% ready to face Gladbach again.”
Bayern are as short as 1/5 to retain the Bundesliga title, while they are 9/4 favourites to win the Champions League again and a price of 31/4 is on offer for them to repeat their treble-winning exploits.
And if they are to enjoy another successful campaign, one thing is for sure: an increasingly mature Robben is likely to play an integral role.