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FC Barcelona vs Bayern Munich: The Arjen Robben Injury Effect

Don't think Arjen Robben is important to Bayern Munich's game plan this season? Think again.

Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

To say that Bayern Munich are struggling with injuries at this point of the season would be an understatement. A lot has been said about those problems, even here at Barca Blaugranes. While the Bayern faithful claim that the Germans have enough depth to get to Final of the UEFA Champions League, you could make a strong case for just about every player on their injured list to be the key to any success Pep Guardiola will achieve in the most prestigious club competition.

One of them is certainly former Real Madrid player, Arjen Robben, who was ruled out for the season after the Dutchman re-injured himself in the DFB Pokal, the German Cup, Semi-Final loss to Borussia Dortmund. It's been a difficult season for Robben who has struggled with injuries from the start of the 2014-2015 campaign, but when on the pitch, he was consistently one of Bayern's best performers, scoring 19 goals and assisting on another nine in 30 games. In fact, the German's lost only two games that Robben started, not counting the 2-0 loss to Borussia Mönchengladbach in which he was subbed off injured after just 24 minutes off play, and drawn only two.

Furthermore, in games that Robben appeared in, Bayern failed to score in only two, counting the loss against Borussia Mönchengladbach. In other words, if Robben played Bayern scored in 93% of games - for the sake of comparison, Barcelona "only" scored in 90% of the games Messi appeared in. When Robben didn't play Bayern failed to score in four of the fifteen games, lowering their success rate to a relatively poor, for Bayern's standars at least, 73%. The Germans also lost three and drawn three of those fifteen games, bringing their wining percentage to a "measly" 60%, compared to 87% when Robben makes an appearance.

My thoughts are further supported by the infographic below, courtesy of our good friends over at SportsMatrix.

As you can see Bayern become a very different team when Robben is not on the pitch, you could even say that Bayern suffer without the Dutch player. They create nearly five scoring chances less per game when Robben is out, resulting in a staggering 1.6 goals/game less. But it's not only that Bayern's productivity drops, they make nearly 200 attacking plays less per game, as evidenced by the Building Attack Actions graph (defined as: sum of every action that was made from the start of attack until the attack reaches an advanced stage - a step before you reach a goal scoring chance).

As those stats suggest, Robben is clearly one of the Bayern's best players this season, but even without Robben, Bayern are an excellent team that can still beat any team in the world.

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