BERLIN (AFP) - Record-breaking Bayern Munich were confirmed as German league champions on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, with a 3-1 win at Hertha Berlin as Pep Guardiola’s side secured the title with seven games to spare.
In his debut season, Guardiola has now won three titles in nine months after last August’s Uefa Super Cup triumph and December’s Club World Cup success.
Bayern’s 19th consecutive Bundesliga match win secured the 24th German league title of their history, and the victory at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium was never in doubt after they raced into a 2-0 lead with just 15 minutes gone.
Bayern have also taken one game off their own record, set last season, for the earliest confirmed league win.
Midfielder Toni Kroos slammed home an early strike before Mario Goetze headed their second to set the Bavarian giants on their way to collecting all three points.
Hertha’s Colombia striker Adrian Ramos netted a penalty before France winger Franck Ribery came off the bench to net a superb third.
With seven games left, Bayern have an unassailable 25-point lead from second-placed Borussia Dortmund, although in truth the title race has been over for weeks already.
Kroos, whose recent contract extension negotiations have stalled, opened the scoring in the sixth minute when he fired home from a Mueller cross.
Goetze doubled the lead when he headed home from a Bastian Schweinsteiger delivery eight minutes later and Bayern enjoyed a remarkable 83 percent of the possession in the opening half.
It could have been 3-0 at the break as Mueller headed off the crossbar with Hertha’s former Bayern goalkeeper Thomas Kraft beaten seven minutes before the interval.
The hosts pulled a goal back when Ramos netted a penalty on 66 minutes after being fouled in the area by Bayern’s Brazilian right-back Rafinha.
However, with 11 minutes left, Ribery scored the best goal of the night when he chipped home from a seemingly impossible angle after a storming run by Goetze.
Dortmund held onto second place with a goalless draw at home to third-placed local rivals Schalke 04 with no trouble reported despite security concerns seeing some 3000 police officers deployed for the match.
VfL Wolfsburg moved up to fifth with a 3-1 win at mid-table Werder Bremen as Junior Malanda, Ivan Perisic and Germany Under-21 attacking midfielder Maximilian Arnold, who is still only 19, found the net for the visitors.
Centre-back Sebastian Proedl netted a consolation for Bremen.
Bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig breathed some life into their survival fight with a shock 3-1 win at home to seventh-placed Mainz 05 as Congolese-born captain Dominick Kumbela scored twice.
The result keeps things tight at the foot of the table with just four points separating the bottom five teams.