Bayern Munich thirtysomethings Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben showed there is no substitute for experience as they combined to see off Borussia Dortmund 4-1 in Der Klassiker.
Dortmund started with three teenagers in their starting XI but the visitors were overwhelmed at the Allianz Arena with Ribery and Robben both on the scoresheet, to add to a brace from former Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski, as Carlo Ancelotti’s men inched ever closer to a fifth Bundesliga title.
The win restored Bayern’s 10-point lead at the summit following RB Leipzig’s victory over Bayer Leverkusen earlier on Saturday with just six rounds remaining.
Dortmund have been Bayern’s closest domestic challengers over recent seasons and while their policy of hoovering up Europe’s best young players may pay dividends in the years to come they were a distant second best here.
Ribery opened the scoring inside four minutes and Lewandowski, who later sustained a shoulder injury and had to be forced off, curled home a 25-yard free-kick six minutes later.
A thunderbolt from Raphael Guerreiro gave Dortmund hope but Robben and Lewandowski, from the penalty spot, gave the scoreline a more realistic look with second-half goals.
It was Dortmund who started the brighter, Ousmane Dembele cutting inside Jerome Boateng before shooting horribly wide when he ought to have tested Sven Ulreich, deputising for the injured Manuel Neuer.
Ribery was more clinical than his French compatriot a minute later, putting Bayern into a 186-second lead when he latched on to Philipp Lahm’s scuffed cross and fired a low drive under Roman Burki.
Ribery, 34 on Friday, and 33-year-old Robben were rolling back the years on the Bayern wings and it was the former who was again involved as Carlo Ancelotti’s men doubled their advantage in the 10th minute.
The ex-Marseille man was felled on the edge of the area and Lewandowski slotted in the set-piece from the edge of the box with Burki slow to get across his line.
Robben was giving Marcel Schmelzer a torrid afternoon and he came agonisingly close to making it 3-0 after 17 minutes with a trademark run in from the right before curling a shot just past the post.
Dortmund were in danger of being overrun but, out of nowhere, they hit back. Boateng was again sloppy, his clearance falling as far as Guerreiro on the edge of the area and he crashed a left-footed half-volley past Ulreich and high into the top corner.
Schmelzer’s inability to keep Robben on his right foot was proving a real problem for Dortmund and Burki twice had to make saves from the Dutchman as he attempted to restore Bayern’s two-goal advantage towards the end of an entertaining first half.
Schmelzer clearly had not learned his lesson as from Bayern’s first notable attack of the second period they scored again.
Ribery picked out Robben in acres of space down the right and he casually stepped inside Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Schmelzer before curling past Burki.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who started the day as the Bundesliga’s top scorer with 25 goals but ended it one behind Lewandowski, was largely anonymous but could have halved the deficit after 67 minutes, bursting clean through only to see his shot cleared off the line by Boateng.
Bayern put the result beyond doubt a minute later, Lewandowski winning and converting a penalty after he was tripped by Burki but appearing to injure his right shoulder in the process.
Ancelotti will hope the Poland international recovers ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League tie with Real Madrid as Bayern seek to edge a step closer to European success to add to what will inevitably be another Bundesliga crown.