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It's party time in Bavaria

Updated: 2014-03-27 08:35
By Agence France-Presse in Berlin ( China Daily)

Bayern claims German crown in record time

Pep Guardiola secured the Bundesliga title in record time on Tuesday, then promptly praised the work of his Bayern Munich predecessor Jupp Heynckes, whose record the Spaniard broke.

Bayern claimed its 24th German league title with a 3-1 win at Hertha Berlin as Guardiola's European champion claimed the domestic league title with seven games to spare.

The Bavarian giants broke their own record for the earliest confirmed league title win, set last April under Heynckes en route to the treble of European, league and cup titles, by one match.

"We won the title with hard work and when you see what Jupp Heynckes achieved last season, that was the only way we were going to better that," said Guardiola. "He laid the foundations."

In his debut season, Guardiola has now won three titles in nine months after last August's UEFA Super Cup triumph and December's Club World Cup success having won 14 titles in four years at Barcelona.

"Obviously I am delighted that we have retained the title," said Guardiola as his side opened up an unassailable 25-point lead over second-placed Borussia Dortmund.

"I want to thank my players and the club that helped me achieve this.

"We had a lot of injuries in recent months and we have not always played well, but my players showed character.

"I am just happy we have finally managed it. It didn't matter when we got it, just as long as we won the title for this great club. We will celebrate today and tomorrow."

Bayern's 19th consecutive Bundesliga win also extends its record unbeaten league run to 52 matches.

The club is still on course to become the first side to finish a Bundesliga season unbeaten.

"It is unbelievable to clinch the title on the back of an unbeaten record," said winger Arjen Robben.

"We are all unbelievably proud of the team and our achievements this season."

Midfielder Toni Kroos slammed home an early strike before Mario Goetze headed the second goal as Bayern went 2-0 up after 14 minutes.

Hertha's Colombia striker Adrian Ramos converted a second-half penalty before France winger Franck Ribery came off the bench to net a superb third 11 minutes from time.

It is now mathematically certain Bayern cannot be caught by its rivals, although in truth the title race has been over for weeks.

Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who has won the Bundesliga title for the seventh time in his career, said the players would party long into the Berlin night.

"I have given the assistant coaches a few tips, but we will definitely enjoy the party tonight, wherever it is," said the 29-year-old.

Germany coach Joachim Loew, who was in the stadium, said Bayern's success could only help the national team during the World Cup in Brazil which starts in June.

"To win the title so early is an incredible achievement," said Loew. "Pep Guardiola has developed the team and made his mark in terms of dominance and possession.

"Bayern has a mentality that demands unconditional success."

(China Daily 03/27/2014 page23)