Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben turned back the hands of time and pulled off a Der Klassiker performance to remember, and for Borussia Dortmund, to forget.
The veteran duo of Ribery and Robben each scored, and Robert Lewandowski bagged a brace as the Bundesliga champions inched closer to retaining their title with a 4-1 routing of Borussia Dortmund at Allianz Arena.
Carlo Ancelotti turned to his aged and experienced vassals following their 0-1 loss to Hoffenheim, and the changes worked brilliantly against Thomas Tuchel’s teenaged-laden starting XI.
Ribery, who turned 34 just days before the match, opened the scoring in the fourth minute, slotting home the pass that was carefully weighted by Bayern defender Philipp Lahm, who himself is a 33-year-old set to retire after the season.
Lewandowski then made it 2-0 for the hosts six minutes later, punishing Roman Burki’s slow reaction and poor positioning with a clinical finish of a set-piece.
Raphael Guerreiro, who is 10 years younger than the Ribery-Robben-Lahm trio, halved the lead in the 20th minute when he found the back of the net with a left-footed half-volley following Kevin Boateng’s poor clearance.
Robben restored the two-goal advantage four minutes after the restart, as he latched onto Ribery’s cross, danced his way past two Dortmund defenders and fired a curler that made its way past Burki and gave the roaring crowd a heavy dose of frenzy and nostalgia.
Former Dortmund forward Lewandowski then put on the finishing touch when he won and converted a penalty after getting tripped by Burki.
If there was a blemish on such a great night for the Bavarians, it appeared Lewandowski suffered a worse injury than the initial diagnosis, as the league’s leading goal scorer had to be subbed out with a shoulder discomfort that he sustained because of Burki’s foul.
Ribery said that boss Ancelotti gave him a peck on the cheek as reward for his classic performance against their rivals.
“We have a great relationship and we trust each other,” said Ribery. “The kiss was nice. It was just natural, something positive. It was a good kiss with a lot of emotion.”
Robben joked that he wanted some of that action too. “Yes, I am a bit jealous. But I might get a kiss as well at some point.”