Bayern Munich won their 23rd German league title in record time on Saturday by winning 1-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt to open up an unassailable 20-point lead with six games remaining.
The Bavarians ended the two-year reign of Borussia Dortmund by clinching a 22nd Bundesliga title faster than any club in the league’s 50-year history.
Bastian Schweinsteiger flicked the ball into the net with a neat back-heel in the 52nd minute to lift Bayern to 75 points ahead of second-placed Dortmund, who beat Augsburg 4-2.
“It’s a fantastic moment and I’m winning a league title after 23 years again,” said coach Jupp Heynckes, who guided Bayern to the championship in 1988-1989 and 1989-1990 during his first stint as coach.
“I have won a few championships in my time as player and coach, but never when it was still that cold,” he said of the fastest title win in Bundesliga history. “My players are now harvesting all the work they put in throughout the year. They put into action exactly what I told them.”
Heynckes will make way for Spaniard Pep Guardiola at the end of the season, by which time Bayern, who are chasing an unprecedented treble for a German club, might have added the UEFA Champions League and DFB Pokal trophies.
Fresh from a 2-0 Champions League quarter-final, first-leg victory at home to Juventus, Bayern should have taken the lead much earlier against Frankfurt, with Xherdan Shaqiri rattling the post with a low shot in the 10th minute.
David Alaba missed a penalty by firing against the same spot 15 minutes later as the visitors showed some nervousness, but Germany international Schweinsteiger made sure of their 11th straight league win this year with his seventh goal of the campaign, turning in a superb Philipp Lahm cross after the fullback’s burst down the right wing.
Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer needed to come to the rescue late in the game as sixth-placed Frankfurt, battling for a Champions League spot, poured forward.
“You feel that this team wants more,” club boss Uli Hoeness said. “Now we want to win the Champions League and the DFB Pokal [German Cup]. There will be time to celebrate at some point.”
There was some singing and dancing on the pitch in Frankfurt, but no big title party in Munich, as Bayern are focusing on the second leg at Juventus this week.
“We really wanted to win this and get the title out of the way,” Bayern captain Lahm said. “There will be one or two beers that will be opened on the way back tonight, but we now want to focus on Juventus. It [the season] is not finished yet.”
Bayern’s 23rd league title covers their 22 Bundesliga crowns and a German national championship trophy in 1932.
Dortmund rested seven key players ahead of their own Champions League quarter-final, second-leg at home to Malaga this week, but had little trouble easing past Augsburg, despite briefly trailing 2-1.
Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski sealed their victory with his 21st goal of the campaign in stoppage-time after a Julian Schieber brace.
Fourth-placed Schalke 04 boosted their hopes of a Champions League place next season by beating Werder Bremen 2-0 away with goals from Julian Draxler and Ciprian Marica to reach 45 points, four behind Bayer 04 Leverkusen who drew 1-1 at home with VfL Wolfsburg.
Hamburg SV failed to bounce back after the previous weekend’s 9-2 demolition by Bayern as they slumped to a 1-0 home defeat by SC Freiburg, who also twice hit the woodwork, piling more pressure on coach Thorsten Fink.
The result lifted surprise package Freiburg to fifth place on 42 points, with Hamburg stuck in ninth on 38 and drifting further away from the European qualifying spots.
In Saturday’s other match, Borussia Moenchengladbach defeated rock-bottom SpVgg Greuther Furth 1-0.
Additional reporting by staff writer