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Arjen Robben told UEFA.com that FC Bayern München still have room for improvement despite securing a 13th successive victory in all competitions as ACF Fiorentina were beaten in the UEFA Champions League first knockout round on Wednesday.
Miroslav Klose's 89th-minute goal gave the four-time European champions a fragile 2-1 lead to take to Florence for the 9 March second leg. Robben acknowledged that the fluency that has been Bayern's hallmark in recent weeks had been lacking against the Viola at the Fußball Arena München.
"They did a good job on us, and played well tactically, but I think we also didn't play well today," Robben said. "We lost the ball too easily in the first half, and I don't think we played the ball around too well to create one-on-one situations," added the Dutchman, who had claimed his sixth goal in as many games from the penalty spot in first-half added time only for Per Krøldrup to level shortly after the interval.
"I think we still have a young team, and we still have to improve. This is a different level to the Bundesliga, and I think you saw that after the goal they scored – it looked as if we had some fear in the team. That's not possible. We have to continue, and play on, play our own game, but it looked like we were stuck for 20-25 minutes."
Kroldrup's close-range strike was the first Fiorentina had scored in some 347 minutes of play. But the Italian visitors belied their recent inconsistency with a stoic display that threatened to claim a valiant draw even after Massimo Gobbi's 73rd-minute dismissal.
"It was a difficult game, as we'd expected," Robben said. "They defended with virtually eleven players behind the ball which means it's difficult to create chances. We were always pushing and trying, but as time is running out you hope the goal will come. In the end we did it, but it was difficult."
Klose's goal – his first in the competition this season – means Bayern will have a slight edge when the two teams take to the pitch in Tuscany in three weeks' time. In addition to giving Bayern a numerical advantage, Robben believes the goal will force Fiorentina's hand tactically.
"It's going to be a difficult match, a difficult fight," the 26-year-old said. "I think we have a little advantage because we won the game. They now have to win at home, they have to come out more and that's probably not their game. They like to wait and play on the counterattack. So we'll see. I think we have to play better than we did today, and if we do then we have a good chance."
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