BERLIN - Record-breaking Bayern Munich claimed their 24th German league title on Tuesday with a 3-1 win at Hertha Berlin as Pep Guardiola's side secured the title with seven games remaining. 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.
"I am just happy we have finally managed it," said Guardiola as his side opened up an unassailable 25-point lead over second-placed Borussia Dortmund. "It didn't matter when we got it just as long as we won the title for this great club." Bayern's 19th consecutive Bundesliga win secured their 24th title - their 23rd of the Bundesliga era - and the victory at Berlin's Olympic Stadium was never in doubt after they raced into a 2-0 lead with just 15 minutes gone.
Bayern have also taken one game off their own record, set last season, for the earliest confirmed league win and are still on course to finish the season unbeaten. "It's unbelievable to clinch the title on the back of an unbeaten record," said winger Arjen Robben. "We're all unbelievably proud of the team and our achievements this season."
Midfielder Toni Kroos slammed home an early strike before Mario Goetze headed their second to set the Bavarian giants on their way to collecting the three points required to be sure of clinching the championship on the night. Hertha's Colombia striker Adrian Ramos scored a penalty before France winger Franck Ribery came off the bench to net a superb third. With seven games left, it is now mathematically certain that Bayern cannot be caught by any of their rivals, although in truth the title race has been over for weeks already.
"Everything has come together for us. We've played phenomenal football this season," said Bayern and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. "We're so happy to have Pep Guardiola here. He's evolved our game even further." Kroos, whose recent contract extension negotiations have stalled, opened the scoring in the sixth minute when he fired home from a Mueller cross. Goetze doubled the lead when he headed home from a Bastian Schweinsteiger delivery eight minutes later and Bayern enjoyed a remarkable 83 percent of the possession in the opening half.
It could have been 3-0 at the break as Mueller headed off the crossbar with Hertha's ex-Bayern goalkeeper Thomas Kraft beaten seven minutes before the interval. The hosts pulled a goal back when Ramos netted a penalty on 66 minutes after being fouled in the area by Bayern's Brazilian right-back Rafinha. However, with 11 minutes left, Ribery scored the best goal of the night when he chipped home from a seemingly impossible angle after a storming run by Goetze.
Dortmund held onto second place with a goalless draw at home to third-placed local rivals Schalke 04 with no trouble reported despite security concerns seeing some 3000 police officers deployed for the match. VfL Wolfsburg moved up to fifth with a 3-1 win at mid-table Werder Bremen as Junior Malanda, Ivan Perisic and Germany Under-21 attacking midfielder Maximilian Arnold, who is still only 19, found the net for the visitors. Centre-back Sebastian Proedl netted a consolation for Bremen. Bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig breathed some life into their survival fight with a shock 3-1 win at home to seventh-placed Mainz 05 as Congolese-born captain Dominick Kumbela scored twice. The result keeps things tight at the foot of the table with just four points separating the bottom five teams.