Bayern Munich have knocked holders Borussia Dortmund out of the German Cup. Along with their immense lead in the Bundesliga table, the Bavarians have taken away one of Dortmund's last chances for a trophy this season.
With Bayern sitting an impressive 17 points clear in the league, Dortmund were hoping Wednesday evening's German Cup quarterfinal match in Munich – dubbed the "German Clasico" – would be an opportunity to get one back against their Bavarian foes. But Arjen Robben and company had other plans.
It was an exciting and open first half, but the meaningful chances were only falling to Bayern. Javi Martinez nearly put the hosts ahead in the 36th minute when Bastian Schweinsteiger put a clever ball over the Dortmund defense, but Roman Weidenfeller was there to meet the Spaniard's volley and keep it scoreless.
After a number good chances, Bayern finally got their deserved lead just before halftime. In the 43rd minute, Philipp Lahm beat Lukas Piszczek to the ball and poked it to Robben. The Dutch winger then turned and faced goal before sending his trademark left-footed curler beautifully past Weidenfeller and into the back of the net.
In the second half Dortmund looked like they might finally get themselves a dangerous opportunity, with Ilkay Gündogan testing goalkeeper Manuel Neuer shortly after play resumed. But when he wasn’t creating chances of his own on the offensive end, Brazilian defender Dante was there to break up Dortmund's opportunities before they could become dangerous.
In the last 15 minutes, Bayern looked to sit back and defend, introducing Luis Gustavo in the 78th minute for Thomas Müller. Dortmund threw all they could at Bayern, bringing on an extra striker in Julian Schieber for the final ten minutes, but the Bavarians held on.
The final chance in the match came to Schieber in the box, but he headed high and it finished 1-0. The win extends Bayern's trophy hopes – having all but assured themselves the Bundesliga title this year – beyond the league.
It was an important win "not just for me, obviously for the whole team," said Robben after the match. "We wanted to show how good we are right now. We played well and earned the win today."
Stuttgart sneak by Bochum
Stuttgart beat Bochum 2-0 earlier Wednesday evening at the Mercedes Benz Arena. Poor finishing kept it closer than it should have been for the hosts against their second division opponents, but a Vedad Ibisevic goal late in the second half ensured that Stuttgart advanced.
Bochum fell behind in the 18th minute when a Christian Gentner shot took an unfortunate deflection. His effort redirected off Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson's leg, flying up and over goalkeeper Andreas Luthe and into the back of the net.
Two of the visitors' best chances came from Japanese midfielder Yusuke Tasaka. His first attempt from the top of the box in the 49th minute after a successful period of buildup play went just wide. But his second shot moments later forced a sprawling save from Stuttgart goalkeeper Sven Ulreich – one of the few times he was tested all match.
Stuttgart solidified their victory in the 81st minute when a wide-open Ibisevic tapped in an Ibrahima Traore cross to make it 2-0. It was an important goal for the Bosnian, who notched his first goal of 2013.
The hosts thought they had a third in stoppage time, but Traore's effort was belatedly waved offside, and the game finished 2-0.
The win sends Stuttgart into the semifinals. Wolfsburg and Freiburg beat Kickers Offenbach and Mainz respectively Tuesday evening in the other quarterfinals.