Robben strikes as Bayern KO Dortmund
Bayern Munich ended their three-year wait for a competitive win over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday as Arjen Robben's first-half strike sealed a 1-0 German Cup quarterfinal victory.
February 2010 had been the occasion of Bayern's last league or cup win over Dortmund – a six-game stretch – but Robben's thunderbolt two minutes before the break at the Allianz Arena was enough to put Munich in the last four.
A pre-season Supercup final win in Munich last August had been Bayern's only source of comfort against Borussia recently.
"We have proved with this result that we are the strongest team in Germany," boasted Bayern president Uli Hoeness after the final whistle.
Despite having spent much of this season on Bayern' bench, Robben took over on the left wing from France's Franck Ribery, who was suspended, to show coach Jupp Heynckes what he has been missing.
The 29-year-old ex-Chelsea and Real Madrid star sank to his knees and beat the turf in delight at the final whistle.
"It's nothing to do with the past, it's all about now," beamed Robben when asked if his goal was redemption for previous weeks on the bench.
"It was a top game between not only two of the best teams in Germany, but in Europe and I think I'm allowed to be happy."
This was the clash of Germany's titans – Bayern Munich, 17 points clear in the Bundesliga against defending league champions and cup holders Dortmund, who have dominated the top tier of German football for the last two years.
Robben's inclusion for the suspended Ribery was the only change from the team which won 3-1 at Arsenal in the Champions League just over a week ago and coach Jupp Heynckes said his side had simply wanted to win more.
"We were a touch more aggressive and really wanted the win," said Heynckes.
"It was an intense game between two high-class teams. I can't speak for Arjen, but a goal helps a player's confidence after a long time out with injury and time on the bench."
In a tight, nervy cup game, both teams had their opportunities.
The brightest chance of the first-half fell to Bayern's Javi Martinez when his shot straight at Roman Weidenfeller was parried and the Dortmund goalkeeper scrambled back to grab the loose ball on on 36 minutes.
Bayern kept up the pressure and when Dortmund's Marcel Schmelzer hit a weak clearance, Robben's shot from 18 metres clocked 115km/h (70mph) as it hit the top-right corner on 43 minutes for what proved to be the winner.
"We were above average in the first half, but that's not enough," said Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp.
"You have to be strong over the 90 minutes to beat Bayern."
With Dortmund out, Bayern are now clear cup favourites and are on course to be the first team to win the treble of German league, cup and Champions League titles in their quest to end their three-year wait for silverware.
VfB Stuttgart, who beat third-division VfL Bochum 2-0, Wolfsburg and Freiburg are the other teams to go into the pot for Sunday's draw with the semifinals to be held on April 16/17, with the final on June 1 in Berlin.