Mon, Mar 24, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Bayern move one win away from title

EARLY CROWN?The defending champions can reclaim the trophy if they win tomorrow, and with seven games to play after that, it seems unlikely they will not succeed

AFP, BERLIN

Bayern Munich players celebrate after their match against FSV Mainz 05 in Mainz, Germany, on Saturday.

Photo: Reuters

Bayern Munich are poised to have their Bundesliga title confirmed tomorrow after Saturday’s 2-0 win at Mainz 05 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.

However, Dortmund kept the Bavarians waiting with a 3-0 win at Hanover 96, 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 teammate 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 BSC tomorrow.

“I’m just pleased about winning against one of the toughest teams we’ll face this season,” Guardiola said. “We only need one more win now. It’s in our own hands. We can be champions in the capital.”

Bayern had 23 shots on goal to Mainz’s four as they extended their record unbeaten run to 51 Bundesliga matches and earned their 18th consecutive league win.

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

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

Dortmund took control when center-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 is to join 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,” Klopp said. “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 bounced back from last week’s Champions League exit at Real Madrid with a 3-1 win at home to bottom side 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 past 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 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 Moenchengladbach’s third.

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

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

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