Bayern Munich beat holders Borussia Dortmund 1-0 courtesy of a spectacular Arjen Robben goal to move into the DFB Pokal semi-finals and reclaim domestic dominance after failing to defeat their rivals in their past six encounters.
Robben, unhappy about his substitute role this season, only made the starting lineup for the hosts due to the absence of the suspended Franck Ribery, but capped a sparkling performance with his 43rd-minute curled shot.
Wednesday’s victory was sweet for Bayern, looking for their first silverware in three years, as they took revenge for their 5-2 DFB Pokal final loss to Dortmund last season.
The Bavarians, who had lost five of their past six games against their rivals, but hold a 17-point lead over the champions at the top of the Bundesliga, were the better side throughout.
Robben shot out of the blocks and twice came close in the opening stages in front of a 71,000 crowd, which included UEFA president Michel Platini and German soccer boss Wolfgang Niersbach.
He finally managed to beat goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller, who made a dozen stunning saves to keep Dortmund in the game, with a trademark effort from the right.
Dortmund, badly missing central defender Mats Hummels, were left exposed at the back far too often, while they also failed to find ways to punch through a solid Bayern defense, with striker Robert Lewandowski — a reported Bayern transfer target — having a bad day.
Earlier on Wednesday, top-tier VfB Stuttgart edged past gutsy second-tier VfL Bochum 2-0 to book their spot in the last four.
Christian Gentner grabbed the lead for Stuttgart, who last won the trophy in 1997, when his shot took a wicked deflection to sail over goalkeeper Andreas Luthe and into the net in the 18th minute.
Bosnian striker Vedad Ibisevic ended his goal drought stretching back to December by drilling home the ball in the 81st minute. He has now scored in every round of the Pokal this season.
On Tuesday, SC Freiburg came from two goals down to beat FSV Mainz 05 3-2 in extra-time to advance, along with VfL Wolfsburg, who edged past third-tier OFC Kickers 1901 EV 2-1.