Bayern's Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery: Our fight vs. Madrid made us stronger

Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery have said their on-pitch bust-up against Real Madrid in 2012 only served to make their partnership at Bayern Munich stronger over the years.

Robben joined Bayern from Madrid in 2009, while Ribery arrived from Marseille two years earlier. The 33-year-old wingers have won six Bundesliga titles, five DFB Pokals, the FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and Champions League together.

Recalling an incident during a Champions League semifinal first leg against Madrid almost five years ago, the duo became embroiled in a verbal row at half-time after Robben appeared to instruct Ribery to allow Toni Kroos to take a free kick in first-half injury time.

Ribery aimed a punch at Robben, who suffered bruising under his eye, later apologising and accepting a fine for his actions. Despite the spat, Bayern progressed to the final after beating Madrid in a penalty shootout, before losing on penalties themselves in the 2012 final on home soil in Munich against Chelsea.

Robben told Sky Sport News Deutschland: "We've always got on really well and it exploded between us once, but the incident only made us stronger.

"It was really a shame. We've played together for such a long time and experienced so much together. Actually it doesn't tell the whole story, actually it is really just one incident in eight years."

Ribery, Bayern's second-longest serving player, was also philosophical about their scuffle and revealed he made up with Robben in Bayern's Bundesliga game against Werder Bremen a few days later.

"We are two great players with big names but I think Arjen and I always got on well," Ribery said. "Sometimes these things happen in football. I approached Arjen in the Bremen game and said it's over."

Bayern face Madrid in this season's Champions League quarterfinals next month, with the duo expected to play a prominent role for the Bavarians once again.