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Saturday 10 December 2016

Treble is still on as Munich win Bundesliga with four games left

Bayern Munich players acknowledge their fans after winning their German Bundesliga first division soccer match against Hertha Berlin in Munich April 25, 2015
Bayern Munich players acknowledge their fans after winning their German Bundesliga first division soccer match against Hertha Berlin in Munich April 25, 2015

Treble-chasing Bayern Munich won a third straight Bundesliga title after Wolfsburg lost at Borussia Moenchengladbach yesterday to leave the champions with an unassailable 15-point lead with four games left.

Bayern, who have now claimed a total of 25 German league titles including one before the Bundesliga's creation in 1963, beat Hertha Berlin 1-0 on Saturday but had to put the champagne on ice until after second-placed Wolfsburg's game yesterday.

Gladbach's Max Kruse scored in the 90th minute for a 1-0 victory that ended any mathematical chance of Wolfsburg catching the Bavarians. It also put second place in danger with Gladbach four points behind on 57 in third.

The Bundesliga title is the second for Bayern coach Pep Guardiola in his second season at the club, as the Spaniard chases a repeat of the league, cup and Champions League treble they won months before he arrived in 2013.

"It is something magnificent to defend our title and I can only congratulate our coach and players," said Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Bayern, domestic double winners last season, face Guardiola's old club Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals next month and have also reached the German Cup last four where they take on Borussia Dortmund next week.

"You can compare the 25th title to a silver anniversary," Germany great and honorary Bayern president Franz Beckenbauer said. "They played an outstanding first half of the season despite the energy-sapping World Cup. A 25th title needs special mention."

Despite being plagued by injuries to key players throughout the season, including Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribery and Philipp Lahm, Bayern showed nerves of steel as they dismantled every domestic opposition in the league.

They took charge from the start as rivals Borussia Dortmund, last season's runners-up, imploded, with Wolfsburg emerging only briefly as title contenders before the gap to the top grew even more.

"It's amazing to win three league titles in three years with Bayern," midfielder Javi Martinez, one of those sidelined with injury for months this season, wrote on Twitter. "Today is a very happy day."

Bayern have lost twice so far and conceded 13 goals in 30 matches, a record for this stage of the Bundesliga.

"Have no doubt, we will have big celebrations," Rummenigge said. "But everything at the right time. Then we will party." (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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