French midfielder Franck Ribery and Germany striker Lukas Podolski fired Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich to a 2-0 win over Arminia Bielefeld on Wednesday, but the German giants show no sign of easing up.
Bayern were crowned champions after their 0-0 draw at Wolfsburg on Sunday and the celebrations began at the Allianz Arena in Munich after they beat Bielefeld. Ribery put his side ahead with a first-half strike, while Podolski, replacing broken-nose victim Miroslav Klose, scored early in the second half.
“We will travel to play Duisburg now on Saturday looking for another win and then I am looking forward to my last game on May 17,” said Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, who will coach the Swiss national side next season. “Of course we are pleased with the way things are going, but we want to stay professional until the end.”
After another clean sheet, Bayern are now just two games away from the record for the lowest number of goals conceded in a Bundesliga season. Their defense has leaked just 18 goals this season, the current record is 22, and they have a 10 point lead at the top of the table.
Nine-man Werder Bremen reclaimed second place in the league with a 1-0 win at Hamburg in the north Germany derby. Bremen were lucky not to lose goalkeeper Tim Weise in the first half after he leapt into Hamburg striker Ivica Olic attempting to clear the ball and kicked the Croat on the shoulder.
“Yes, it was a dangerous thing to do, but I did make contact with the ball,” Wiese said. “It wasn’t worth a red card, but the main thing is we won.”
The Bremen keeper escaped with a yellow card and his side took the lead when Hugo Almeida smashed home his shot from 17m in the second half. But Werder were reduced to 10 men when captain Frank Baumann earned his second yellow card for a clumsy challenge to leave his side a man down for the last 30 minutes, while Jurica Vranjes was shown a straight red for dangerous play early in injury time.
The mid-week results means Bremen and Schalke 04 are both guaranteed Champions League places next season.
VfL Wolfsburg kept their dream of a UEFA Cup appearance next season alive with a 3-2 victory against Eintracht Frankfurt.
But Bayer Leverkusen’s dreams of another season in the UEFA Cup took a hammering when guests Hertha Berlin beat them 2-1.
While Nuremberg took a big step toward avoiding relegation when they conjured a 2-0 win over fellow bottom three side Duisburg.