04.05.2008: Draw enough to secure Bayern title

German Football
By German Football May 5, 2008 03:56

04.05.2008: Draw enough to secure Bayern title

Bayern Munich secured their 21st German league title and completed a domestic double for the third time in four seasons when they drew 0-0 away to VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday.

Bayern’s draw stretched their lead over closest rivals Werder Bremen to 10 points with just three games left and set off the traditionally soggy celebrations, as the players soaked each other, and anyone else on the field, with beer.

‘It’s a special achievement,’ outgoing coach Ottmar Hitzfeld told reporters between soakings. ‘There was a lot of expectation and the pressure was enormous but now we’ve done it.’

The Bavarian club’s 20th title since the Bundesliga era began in 1963 follows their German Cup final victory over Borussia Dortmund in Berlin last month. Their only other German Championship success came back in 1932.

Bayern played poorly on Sunday against Wolfsburg, who missed the chance to keep them waiting for the title when Grafite burst through on goal in the final minute only to shoot wide.

With 31 games played, Bayern lead with 67 points, followed by Werder on 57 after their 2-0 win over Energie Cottbus on Saturday. Schalke 04 are two points further back in the third and final Champions League place after a 1-1 draw at home to Hanover 96.

‘All in all it’s been a fantastic season,’ club president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Premiere TV before being drenched in traditional Bavarian Weissbier by midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger. ‘We played great football and took a big step forward this season.’

‘And Bastian is going up for sale,’ he joked in an aside.

Bayern were humiliated 4-0 in their UEFA Cup semi-final second leg against Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday, dashing their hopes of a treble in Hitzfeld’s final season before he makes way for incoming coach Juergen Klinsmann.

That heavy defeat should not take too much away from what was a near perfect domestic season for a team inspired by the artistry of midfielder Franck Ribery and the brutal efficiency of Luca Toni up front.

Bayern, who finished outside the Champions League places last season, started the campaign with a 3-0 win at home to Hansa Rostock and they have not relinquished the lead in the table all season.

They have lost just twice in the league so far, and boasts the top scorer in Italian striker Toni, who has bagged 21 goals in 29 Bundesliga matches in his debut season in Germany.

Ribery, the French playmaker signed from Olympique Marseille for 30 million euros, has been a delight to watch, while Oliver Kahn has proved in his final season at the club, and at the age of 38, that he remains one of the world’s best keepers.

German Football
By German Football May 5, 2008 03:56
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