Berlin: Record-breaking Bayern Munich were confirmed German league champions on Tuesday with a 3-1 win at Hertha Berlin as Pep Guardiola's side secured the title with seven games to spare.
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.
Bayern Munich players celebrate their victory. Pic/ AFP
Bayern's 19th consecutive Bundesliga win secured the 24th German league title of their history, 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.
Midfielder Toni Kroos slammed home an early strike before Mario Goetze headed their second to set the Bavarian giants on their way to collecting all three points.
Hertha's Colombia striker Adrian Ramos netted a penalty before France winger Franck Ribery came off the bench to net a superb third.
With seven games left, Bayern have an unassailable 25-point lead from second-placed Borussia Dortmund, although in truth the title race has been over for weeks already.
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.
1- Pep Guardiola can claim a maximum of five titles at the end of his first season in charge at Bayern Munich. The 43-year-old won 14 titles in four years as Barcelona coach, but he already has three after just nine months at Bayern, who have claimed the UEFA Super Cup, the Club World Cup and now the Bundesliga so far this season. Bayern are also in the semi-finals of the German Cup and, having reached the quarter-finals where they will face Manchester United, are bidding to become the first side to successfuly defend the European Cup in the Champions League era.
2- The number of Bundesliga points Bayern have dropped so far this season. Bayern were last beaten in October 2012 when Leverkusen enjoyed a 2-1 win at the Allianz Arena. Since then Bayern are unbeaten in 52 Bundesliga matches. A gritty 1-1 draw at Freiburg last August and a 1-1 draw at Leverkusen in October are the only blots on Bayern's near-perfect Bundesliga record.
3- Bayern became the first German side to win the treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup last season. They can win all three again with the German Cup final in Berlin on May 17 and the Champions League final a week later, on May 24 in Lisbon.
4- The number of league games Bayern have drawn this season and failed to claim three points. No side has ever gone an entire Bundesliga campaign without defeat and the Bavarian giants are now seven games away from claiming yet another league record. Under Guardiola's predecessor Jupp Heynckes, Bayern broke or equalled 25 Bundesliga records last season but they are on course to break many of them 12 months later when the season finishes on May 10.
5- The number of league games goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has missed this season. He has made the most appearances of any player in the Bayern squad. In terms of outfield players, right-back Rafina, midfielders Toni Kroos and Thomas Mueller and striker Mario Mandzukic have each missed just two of the 27 games Bayern have played.
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