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Bayern Munich win Bundesliga title

Thriving German team are on track for treble as they win first piece of silverware since 2010 with early domestic title.

Last Modified: 06 Apr 2013 17:21
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Players give manager Jupp Heynckes the bumps after he kept Bayern at the top all season [EPA]

From the best Bundesliga start to the earliest title success in half a century, Bayern Munich's record-breaking run this season has seen them back on top with their 23rd German league trophy.

The Bavarians led from start to finish to end a two-year reign by Borussia Dortmund and notch their first title in what they hope will be a treble-winning season. 

Bayern, without any silverware since 2010, were desperate to reassert themselves in the domestic competitions this season after two years of playing second fiddle to Dortmund in the league and German Cup.

With targeted spending in the close season, including bringing in holding midfielder Javi Martinez for $52.09 million and defender Dante, Bayern boosted their backline, an Achilles heel in the past few seasons.

They also added depth to the squad with striker Mario Mandzukic, the speedy Xherdan Shaqiri and experienced Claudio Pizarro.

Croatian Mandzukic turned out to be worth his weight in gold as he became his club's top scorer, with 15 league goals so far, and made Bayern all but forget the injured Mario Gomez.

Mandzukic held on to his starting spot even when Gomez returned from his lengthy injury absence.

Martinez and Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who scored in the 1-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday that clinched the title with six games left, formed a superb partnership.

They set a quick-passing game in motion that has seen Bayern net 79 goals in 28 league games.

Winger Franck Ribery has enjoyed his most successful Bayern season, scoring seven goals and setting up another nine.

Their backline was equally effective and is set for a record after conceding only 13 league goals so far this term.

Ambitious Sammer 

There was also a transfer off the pitch that was just as effective, with the ambitious Matthias Sammer replacing Christian Nerlinger as the club's sports director.

The former European champion brought his trademark drive for success and soon made his presence felt as he kept pushing the team despite their record start to the season.

Even when things were going their way, Sammer was there to remind them of what they still needed to accomplish.

By December it was clear Bayern were in control of the title race boosted by a 1-1 draw with Dortmund - their first point against the then champions after four straight league defeats.

Bayern heeded the warnings to avoid another implosion after the winter break like the previous season when they squandered a nine-point lead to hand the title to Dortmund.

Coach Jupp Heynckes' squad enjoyed a sensational 10-game winning streak to kill off any hopes of a Dortmund comeback.

"We have seen our performance drop," Sammer warned in March after a slight dip in form saw Bayern win two games but without their usual dominance.

They responded by beating third-placed Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 and Hamburg SV 9-2 in consecutive weeks to set themselves up early for the title run-in.

With the German Cup and Champions League still to fight for, Bayern are on track for what could be a remarkable season.

Former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola will take over as their manager at the end of the season.

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Source:
Reuters
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