|Bayern Munich players celebrate their Bundesliga victory, on Tuesday
Berlin: Bayern Munich clinched the Bundesliga title in record time with seven games left in the campaign.
They beat Hertha Berlin 3-1 on Tuesday, thanks to goals from Toni Kroos, Mario Goetze and Franck Ribery
Last season’s treble winners claimed their 23rd Bundesliga crown with a 10th straight away victory, stretching their winning streak to a staggering 19 consecutive league games and their unbeaten run to 52 league matches — all Bundesliga records.
“I am satisfied that we did it,” Spanish coach Pep Guardiola, in his first season in charge, told reporters. “A game earlier or later does not matter. Congratulations to everyone at the club. Now we will go out to dinner and celebrate,” added Guardiola, who managed to avoid the traditional on-pitch beer shower from his players. “We will enjoy the free time we have here.”
The Spaniard, who won 14 out of 19 titles in four years at Barcelona, has added the Bundesliga crown to the European Super Cup and Club World Cup titles Bayern won earlier this season. They have an unassailable 25-point lead over second-placed Borussia Dortmund, who were runners-up last term, with 21 points to play for in Guardiola’s first season in charge.
“First of all the praise belongs to the coach and the team,” Bayern sports director Matthias Sammer told reporters as Guardiola celebrated with his players on the pitch. After the success of last season we continued to be very focused and we managed to win the league even earlier than last year. We have a concentration and a momentum right now which is unusual.”
Among those not present in the stadium to celebrate Bayern’s triumph was Uli Hoeness, the club’s former player, long-time manager and president, who was found guilty of tax evasion and sentenced to prison earlier this month.
Germany coach Joachim Loew was in the stands and heaped praise on the team that provides the national side’s backbone. “To win the title that early is an amazing performance,” Loew told reporters.
“Pep Guardiola developed the team even further. His mark can be seen in their dominance and possession.”
It did not take long for Bayern to show they meant business in front of a sell-out 76,000 Olympic stadium crowd, with Kroos slotting in a deflected clearance in the sixth minute and Goetze heading home Bastian Schweinsteiger’s cross in the 14th.
Adrian Ramos pulled one back for the hosts with a well-taken penalty in the 66th minute to inject some life into the second half as Bayern took their foot off the gas. But Frenchman Ribery, who had come on as a substitute, completed a dazzling move, after a silky run and pass from Goetze, when he chipped the ball over goalkeeper Thomas Kraft to wrap up the points and the title.
Bayern’s success was their 24th German league title because they were also champions once — in the 1931/ 32 season — before the Bundesliga was created in 1963.