Published — Sunday 7 April 2013
Last update 8 April 2013 6:31 am
BERLIN: Bayern Munich won their 23rd German league title in record time yesterday by beating Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 to open up an unassailable 20-point lead with six games left in the season.
The Bavarians ended the two-year reign of Borussia Dortmund by clinching their 22nd Bundesliga title faster than any club in the league’s 50-year history.
Bastian Schweinsteiger beautifully flicked the ball into the net with a back-heel in the 52nd minute to lift Bayern to 75 points, 20 ahead of second-placed Dortmund, who beat Augsburg 4-2.
“It is a fantastic moment, and I am winning a league title after 23 years again,” said coach Jupp Heynckes, who guided Bayern to the championship in 1989 and 1990 during his first stint as coach.
“My players are now harvesting all the work they put in throughout the year. They put into action exactly what I told them.” Heynckes will make way for Pep Guardiola at the end of the season — by which time Bayern, who are chasing an unprecedented treble for a German club, might have added the Champions League and German Cup crowns.
Dortmund rested seven key players ahead of their own Champions League quarter-final, second leg against Malaga next week, but had little trouble easing past Augsburg despite briefly trailing 2-1.
Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski sealed their victory with his 21st goal of the campaign after a Julian Schieber double.
Madrid routs Levante
Cristiano Ronaldo went on as a substitute to seal Real Madrid’s 5-1 win over Levante as it maintained its dominant form yesterday ahead of its Champions League quarterfinal at Galatasaray.
Madrid reduced Barcelona’s lead in the Spanish league to 10 points before the Catalan side hosted Mallorca later.
Gonzalo Higuain’s exquisite volley pulled Madrid level in the 36th minute after Miguel “Michel” Alfonso grabbed the visitors the lead after five minutes. Kaka made it 2-1 with a penalty in the 39th.
Ronaldo went on at halftime and fired in Higuain’s pass in the 84th before setting up Mesut Oezil three minutes from time. Oezil added a fifth in stoppage time.
Real Sociedad romped to a 4-2 win at home over Malaga, strengthening its hold on fourth place against a direct rival for Spain’s last Champions League berth.
Juventus on top
Juventus beat 10-man Pescara 2-1 to provisionally extend its Serie A lead to 12 points yesterday and boost its confidence ahead of Wednesday’s return leg against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals.
Arsenal goes fourth
In London, Arsenal won 2-1 at West Bromwich Albion yesterday to climb into the Champions League places at Chelsea’s expense, while Aston Villa claimed a precious win in their fight to avoid relegation from the Premier League.
A brace from Tomas Rosicky gave Arsenal victory at The Hawthorns, but they allowed West Brom to come back into the game after Per Mertesacker was sent off for bringing down Shane Long in the penalty area.
Reading’s hopes of avoiding relegation were seriously compromised after a 2-0 loss at home to manager Nigel Adkins’s former club Southampton left them eight points from safety with only six games remaining.
Elsewhere yesterday, Norwich City were denied only a second win in 15 games in an entertaining 2-2 draw at home to Swansea City.
Norwich came from behind to lead through Michael Turner after Robert Snodgrass had canceled out Michu’s 35th-minute opener, but Luke Moore headed in a 75th-minute equalizer to prevent Swansea from slipping to a fourth straight defeat.