Bayern Munich underlined its German dominance with a record-extending sixth consecutive Bundesliga title on Saturday.
Jupp Heynckes’ side defeated Augsburg 4-1 away to seal its record 28th German championship, including the solitary pre-Bundesliga title in 1931-32.
Bayern did it with five rounds to spare, allowing the team to focus on the Champions League and German Cup for the rest of the season.
Celebrations were relatively muted as the side looked to the remaining targets.
“There’ll be a lot of time to celebrate,” said Franck Ribery on his 35th birthday. The French winger, who came on as a substitute, joined former Bayern players Oliver Kahn, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mehmet Scholl and Philipp Lahm on a record eight Bundesliga titles.
Bayern once again sealed the league title away from home. The last time it clinched the title in front of its own fans came when the club was still playing at Munich’s Olympiastadion in 2000.
Corentin Tolisso, James Rodriguez, Arjen Robben and Sandro Wagner scored as Bayern came from behind to move an unassailable 20 points ahead of Schalke, which was playing at Hamburger SV later Saturday but can no longer catch the Bavarian powerhouse.
“It’s a success for everyone here, not just me,” said Heynckes, who turned Bayern’s season around after a lackluster start when he returned for his fourth stint in charge in October.
“It was clear that we’d be German champions at some stage with the lead that we had, but at the time (assistant) Peter Hermann and I returned it wasn’t foreseeable as we were five points behind and the team wasn’t really functioning properly. I think everyone delivered great work,” Heynckes said.
The veteran coach, who is likely going back into retirement at the end of the season, also congratulated his predecessor Carlo Ancelotti for his role in the title success.
“He’s not only a great coach but a great person,” Heynckes said.
Augsburg started at pace, closing down any space for the visitors, and the pressure paid off in the 18th minute with an own-goal. Sergio Cordova forced Jerome Boateng to lose possession and Sven Ulreich then saved the Venezuelan forward’s shot before the ball rebounded off Niklas Suele’s face into the goal.
But the home side was unable to maintain its furious pace, and Tolisso was left completely unmarked to head in Joshua Kimmich’s cross for the equalizer after a half-hour.
James put the visitors in front before the break, scoring from close range after Juan Bernat deflected Kimmich’s cross into his path.
Robben all but sealed the title for Bayern after the hour-mark when he fired inside the right post after James kept the ball in play.
Wagner, playing in place of the rested Robert Lewandowski, rounded off the scoring late.
BLOW FOR COLOGNE
Cologne’s chances of avoiding the drop took a blow after relegation rival Mainz came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw in their decisive clash.
Cologne captain Jonas Hector headed his side into an early lead, but Pablo De Blasis equalized to keep Mainz six points clear of host Cologne in the relegation playoff place.
Mainz defender Giulio Donati was sent off late in a heated finale.
Wolfsburg struck a blow for its survival with a 2-0 win at Freiburg, and Borussia Moenchengladbach came from behind to beat visiting Hertha Berlin 2-1.