Double-double for Bayern |
Bayern Munich clinched their 20th German title on Saturday after a 1-1 draw with Kaiserslautern as they became the first team to win the league and cup double in consecutive seasons.
Victory would have guaranteed Bayern the title but as it turned out their result proved irrelevant as second-placed SV Hamburg lost 4-2 against ten-man Hertha Berlin leaving them six points behind Bayern heading into the final game of the season.
It was Bayern's sixth league title in eight seasons and added to their recent 1-0 cup final triumph over Eintracht Frankfurt.
"It was difficult but we have a lot of experience in title battles and used it," explained captain Oliver Kahn.
"We have dominated the league this season and deserve to win the title. You need to come up with the big points at the right time and we did that."
Felix Magath's Bayern won the title with a 4-0 win at Kaiserslau-tern last season and their travelling fans were hoping for a repeat but the champions were given a shock on 26 minutes when they fell behind.
Michael Ballack, back from suspension, surrendered possession and the ball broke to Turkish international Halil Altintop who netted his 19th goal of the season with a scuffed chip that crept over goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.
Kaiserslautern then hit the crossbar and with Hamburg 2-1 up against Hertha the title race looked set to go down to the final day of the season.
But 21-year-old Andreas Ottl scored his first goal of the season on 68 minutes to equalise for Bayern and Hamburg collapsed to a 4-2 defeat against Hertha to ensure they were champions.
"It is finally decided and we can celebrate now," said Magath." Kaiserslautern made it hard for us but we came through with a little help from Hertha Berlin."
Bayern will not be handed the trophy until the final day of the season when they face Borussia Dortmund at their Allianz Arena home.
"It will be a great occasion picking the trophy up in front of 66,000 fans," enthused general manager Uli Hoeness.
"Full credit to Felix (Magath). He has won two league and cup doubles in a row. That is mightily impressive."
Hamburg's loss against Hertha means they must win their final match to secure second and direct entry to the Champions League.
"Congratulations to Bayern on their title win," said Hamburg coach Thomas Doll. "They were the best team and deserved to finish top. We just need to focus on our achieving our aims now."
Werder Bremen can steal second spot after moving one point behind Hamburg after a 6-0 demolition of FC Cologne on Saturday.
Another twist sees Bremen travel to Hamburg on the final day of the season.
"We are focused for the final game against Hamburg and go there to win," said Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf.
German international Miroslav Klose scored twice to take his season's tally to 24 and he is on course To win the Golden Boot for the first time.
The win guaranteed Bremen third place with fourth-placed Schalke 04 falling to a 1-0 defeat at Mainz 05.
The defeat ended Cologne's brief spell in the Bundesliga as they joined MSV Duisburg in being relegated from the German top-flight.
Kaiserslautern or VfL Wolfsburg will join them and the two teams meet next Saturday in a relegation face-off.
Wolfsburg are one point better off than Kaiserslautern and have home advantage for the all-or-nothing showdown.