Bremen, Germany, 17 June 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Bayern Munich have clinched an eighth consecutive Bundesliga title by winning 1-0 away to Werder Bremen to go 10 points clear of Borussia Dortmund, who have only three games left to play.
Robert Lewandowski’s 31st goal of the season sealed the latest championship for Bayern, who also had Alphonso Davies sent off. It completes a remarkable turnaround from having sacked coach Niko Kovac in November.
Hansi Flick took over and led the team to 19 wins from 22 Bundesliga games to leave the opposition trailing in their wake. Bayern have now won 30 German titles with 29 coming in the Bundesliga era.
Dortmund play their mid-week match at home to Mainz on Wednesday as they attempt to hold on to the runners-up spot.
Borussia Moenchegladbach boosted their Champions League hopes 3-0 at home to Wolfsburg, Freiburg continued the chase for a Europa League spot 2-1 over Hertha Berlin and Paderborn were relegated after losing 1-0 at Union Berlin, who confirmed their top-flight status for next season.
Bayern’s probing in Bremen finally found weakness in the resilient Bremen defence two minutes before the break. Lewandowski brilliantly controlled a chip from Jerome Boateng to fire home and start the countdown to the title party.
After the break Bayern dominated possession and Lewandowski had a clever flick ruled out for offside.
Davies collected a second yellow with 10 minutes remaining but though Manuel Neuer was called into action Yuya Osako the outcome of the game was never in doubt.
And neither, ultimately, was the outcome of the title race which was celebrated modestly and without the usual beer showers in the absence of fans.
“It was without question a season under special conditions that no one wished for and hopefully remains unique,” said club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge to Sky Television. He confirmed the league trophy would be presented after the final game of the campaign at Wolfsburg.
Bayern were seven points adrift in seventh in early December after losing to then leaders Gladbach but have not tasted defeat since. Gladbach and others have been hauled in and the 1-0 win in Dortmund, soon after the resumption from the coronavirus break, made the championship a matter of time.
Coach Flick, celebrating his first title as a head coach having assited Joachim Loew when Germany won the 2014 World Cup, hailed the performance of his team in the last months.
“You never have success alone, rather only together,” said Flick. “It’s fun to be part of it.
“We are good. They (the players) have an enormous quality and the coaching team trusts them.”
There are two games left for Bayern in the Bundesliga before the July 4 German Cup final with Bayer Leverkusen. They are also still in the Champions League and well placed to enter the quarter-finals when the competition resumes from suspension, creating thoughts of a repeat of the 2013 treble.
“It is Bayern Munich, the goals are always high,” said Flick. “We have taken the first step. We still have the cup, the next high. The Champions League you can’t plan.”
Bremen remain in the second automatic relegation place, behind Fortuna Dusseldorf – who visit third-placed RB Leipzig on Wednesday – on goal difference ahead of a six-pointer at 15th-placed Mainz this weekend.
“We’re disappointed because we have not taken any points,” said Bremen’s Niklas Moisander. “We have to take the performance with us to Mainz and score goals now. I’m convinced that we will stay in the league.”
Paderborn have been adrift at the bottom for weeks and Ben Zolinski’s own goal condemned them to another defeat in Berlin. The win lifted Union to 12th, and guaranteed safety, in their maiden Bundesliga campaign.
It would be celebrated “with distance but a couple of beers,” according to captain Christopher Trimmel. “We knew that we were the number one relegation candidate and have had an excellent season.”
At the other end of the table, a first half double from Jonas Hofmann helped Gladbach ease past an off-form Wolfsburg to go fourth and into the final Champions League place.
Hofmann’s goals in the 10th and 30th minutes put the Foals in control and Lars Stindl added a fine third after the break. Gladbach are two points ahead of fifth-placed Leverkusen, who host local rivals Cologne on Wednesday.
Wolfsburg are sixth as they look to secure a return to the Europa League by finishing in the top seven.
That spot is currently occupied by Freiburg who beat mid-table Hertha Berlin through Vincezno Grifo and Nils Petersen either side of Vedad Ibisevic’s penalty.