Treble-chasers Bayern celebrate Bundesliga title in empty stadium
BERLIN - Bayern Munich claimed their eighth consecutive Bundesliga title by beating Werder Bremen 1-0 away thanks to Robert Lewandowski's first-half strike to open up an unassailable lead at the top of the table on Tuesday.
The league's top scorer latched onto a superb Jerome Boateng cross and fired in his 31st goal of the campaign just before the break to send the Bavarians 10 points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund, who have three games left.
In a rollercoaster season that saw coach Niko Kovac fired in November with Bayern off the leading positions and Hansi Flick taking over, they turned it around after the winter break, are unbeaten since and won their last 11 straight league matches.
Bayern remained unruffled by the two-month break due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and beat Dortmund last month to overcome the last major obstacle en route to a 29th Bundesliga title since the introduction of the top division in 1963.
It was Bayern's 30th German league crown overall. They could also add the German Cup, having booked a spot in the July 4 final where they face Bayer Leverkusen, and have also won their Champions League round of 16 first leg 3-0 at Chelsea.
"It is sensational the kind of football we have played in the past few months," Flick said. "You could feel the passion the joy for the game and the team spirit."
"We have now taken the first step and reached our big goal," he added after the team celebrated their triumph in front of empty stands due to the pandemic.
"But we also have the Cup in our sights and then obviously the Champions League games are something you cannot plan for and we still need to survive the Chelsea game."
Second-bottom side Werder, desperate to avoid a second relegation after 1980, were bold and matched the Bavarians in the first half for speed and possession.
They also had the better chances until Bayern winger Kingsley Coman's glancing header in the 24th.
The Bavarians gradually gained ground and broke the deadlock with defender Jerome Boateng's superb pass for Lewandowski, who turned in the box and fired home in the 43rd minute.
The Polish international, who scored on his return from suspension, is chasing the 40-goal Bundesliga record for one season set by Bayern's Gerd Mueller in 1972 and had a string of good chances after the break to add to his tally.
But it was keeper Manuel Neuer who proved key for Bayern after they were left with 10 men for the final 10 minutes following the dismissal of Alphonso Davies, making a sensational one-handed save to ensure yet another league title.