Football: Bayern made to wait for league title

Bayern Munich's players celebrating after their German first division Bundesliga match against FSV Mainz 05 in Mainz, on March 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Bayern Munich's players celebrating after their German first division Bundesliga match against FSV Mainz 05 in Mainz, on March 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN (AFP) - Bayern Munich are poised to have their Bundesliga title confirmed in the next three days after a 2-0 win at Mainz 05 on Saturday, March 22, 2014, kept them 23 points clear.

Bayern would have been German champions for the 24th time if rivals Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 had both failed to win.

But Dortmund kept the Bavarians waiting with a 3-0 win at Hanover, while Schalke cruised to a 3-1 win at home to Eintracht Braunschweig.

Bayern left it late at Mainz with midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger striking with a header on 82 minutes.

His Germany team-mate Mario Goetze then netted the European champions' second four minutes later.

Their massive 23-point lead means Pep Guardiola's Bayern are set to be crowned champions with a record seven Bundesliga games left if they win at Hertha Berlin on Tuesday.

"I'm just pleased about winning against one of the toughest teams we'll face this season," said Guardiola.

"We only need one more win now. It's in our own hands. We can be champions in the capital."

Bayern fired in 23 shots on goal to Mainz's four as they extended their record unbeaten run to 51 Bundesliga matches and earn their 18th consecutive league win.

Second-placed Dortmund, who made the Champions League quarter-finals in midweek despite a last-16 second leg home defeat to Zenit Saint Petersburg, enjoyed a 3-0 win at Hanover 96.

The hosts made a bright start when centre-back Andre Hoffmann clattered the post, leaving Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp shaking his head on the sidelines.

But Dortmund took control when centre-back Mats Hummels fired home just before the break then Poland striker Robert Lewandowski netted a spectacular second-half goal.

There was nothing on when the 26-year-old, who joins Bayern next season, took the ball on the left wing, raced down the flank, cut inside and drilled his shot home despite the attention of five defenders.

There was more good news for Klopp late on as Marco Reus celebrated his comeback from injury by scoring their third in added time having come off the bench.

"It was important that we stayed calm throughout the game," said Klopp.

"Things went well for after us when we went 2-0 up, but I could really breathe easily after our third goal. It was a highly-professional performance." Schalke 04 bounced back from Tuesday's Champions League exit at Real Madrid with a 3-1 win at home to bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig.

Teenage midfielder Leon Goretzka gave Schalke the lead when he fired home a long-range shot on 17 minutes.

Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar claimed his 10th goal of the season when he fired home a direct free-kick 20 minutes from time to claim his sixth goal in his last three league games.

Huntelaar's replacement Adam Szalai netted the Royal Blues third just before the final whistle after Benjamin Kessel scored Eintracht's consolation.

Borussia Moenchengladbach moved back up to fifth with an impressive 3-0 win at home to Hertha Berlin as all three first-half goals had a South American influence.

Venezuala's Juan Arango opened the scoring for Gladbach, then Hertha's Colombia striker Adrian Ramos scored an own goal before Brazil's Raffael added Borssia's third.

Augsburg were held to a 1-1 draw at fifth-placed VfL Wolfsburg, who had former Chelsea midfielder Kevin de Bruyne sent off for a second yellow card.

At the other end of the table, Stuttgart climbed out of the bottom three with a 1-0 win at home to 10-man Hamburg.

Hamburg took Stuttgart's place in the bottom three, while new coach Huub Stevens enjoyed his first win in only his second game in charge as Stuttgart picked up their first win in ten games.

Hamburg were reduced to ten men when Turkey midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu was shown a second yellow card, and the subsequent red, on 53 minutes.

Stuttgart scored the winner when Romania midfielder Alexandru Maxim netted just six minutes after Guinea winger Ibrahima Traore put in a superb cross with 69 minutes gone.

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