Bayern Munich wins record 7th straight Bundesliga title

Bayern Munich players celebrate with the trophy after winning the Bundesliga against Eintracht Frankfurt in Munich on Saturday. (Reuters)
Updated 18 May 2019
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Bayern Munich wins record 7th straight Bundesliga title

  • Club bounces back to be crowned German champions for the 29th time in history
  • The fairytale farewell for club icons Robben and Ribery saw Bayern end an unusually tight title race two points ahead of rivals Borussia Dortmund

BERLIN: Franck Ribery hailed a “special” moment as he and Arjen Robben both scored in their final game at the Allianz Arena on Saturday to wrap up a 5-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt and a seventh successive Bundesliga title.

“It was a special moment, but also a difficult one,” Ribery told Sky. “These were my last moments at the Allianz Arena, with the fans and with my team, after being here for 12 years ... There is a time for everything and you have to accept it.”

The fairytale farewell for club icons Robben and Ribery saw Bayern end an unusually tight title race two points ahead of rivals Borussia Dortmund, who beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-0.

“You couldn’t write a better finale than that,” said Bayern coach Niko Kovac.

Nine points behind Dortmund in December, Bayern lost just one game between January and May as they bounced back to be crowned German champions for the 29th time in their history.

Robben and Ribery, who will both leave the club at the end of the season, came off the bench against Frankfurt to score Bayern’s fourth and fifth goals and end Dortmund’s hopes of pulling off a final day miracle.

Franck Ribery holds his baby after the match.  (AFP)

Their departure marks the end of a glistening decade of success for Bayern, who are now set for a major squad overhaul ahead of next season, having already signed World Cup winners Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez.

Kingsley Coman gave Bayern a dream start, slotting home a Thomas Mueller through ball after just four minutes. There was brief hope for Dortmund as both they and Frankfurt scored either side of half-time.

After Gladbach dominated the first half, Jadon Sancho smashed in the opener for Dortmund, and Reus doubled the lead after the break.

In Munich, Sebastien Haller bundled in a shock equalizer at a corner just after the break, but Bayern responded furiously, and David Alaba restored the lead in a matter of minutes.

Dortmund’s hopes lay in tatters when Renato Sanches blasted the ball in from close range to score his first Bundesliga goal and put Bayern 3-1 up.

Ribery and Robben each came off the bench to standing ovations in the second half, and Ribery danced through the Frankfurt ranks to seal the title on 72 minutes, before Robben completed a fairytale afternoon with a 78th minute tap-in.

The defeats for Gladbach and Frankfurt saw Bayer Leverkusen sneak into the fourth Champions League spot behind RB Leipzig, as they won 5-1 away to Hertha Berlin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the unprecedented achievement by football’s costliest squad comes against the backdrop of investigations into City’s compliance into football’s spending rules that could lead to the Abu Dhabi-owned team being banned from the Champions League.


Chile open Copa America title defense with win over Japan

Updated 23 min 24 sec ago
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Chile open Copa America title defense with win over Japan

  • The victory moved Chile to the top of Group C along with Uruguay
  • Japan, playing as a Copa America guest for the second time

SAO PAULO: Chile’s experienced Copa America team proved too good for Japan’s young squad.

The two-time defending champions opened their Copa America campaign with a 4-0 win over the Asian guests on Monday, with Eduardo Vargas scoring a pair of goals to become Chile’s all-time leading scorer in the South American competition.

Erick Pulgar and Alexis Sanchez also scored for the titleholders, which are trying to become the first nation to win three straight Copa titles since Argentina in the late 1940s. Vargas scored twice in the second half to reach 12 goals with Chile in the tournament, two more than Enrique Hormazabal.

The victory moved Chile to the top of Group C along with Uruguay, which opened with a 4-0 win over Ecuador on Sunday.

“Chile has players who are very experienced, who know each other very well,” Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda said. “The challenge today was to avoid a bad debut. We were humble and entered with our feet on the ground. We were playing against a team that was very competitive in all sectors.”

Japan, playing as a Copa America guest for the second time, brought to Brazil a young squad focused on the Olympic tournament at home next year. The Japanese youngsters struggled against the veteran Chilean squad which was in control from the start at the Morumbi Stadium.

Chile won the last two editions of the Copa America, beating Argentina in penalty shootouts in the final both in 2015 and 2016. Argentina is the only team to have won three consecutive South American titles, from 1945-47.

Boosted by most of the 23,253 fans at the Morumbi, Chile created most of the significant chances.

After Pulgar headed in a corner-kick cross by Charles Aranguiz in the 41st minute, Vargas added to the lead with a shot from outside the area in the 54th after a pass by Mauricio Isla.

Sanchez found the net with a header in the 82nd, and Vargas closed the scoring about a minute later with a long lob shot over goalkeeper Keisuke Osako as he charged from his net.

It was a good opening match for Sanchez after a difficult season with Manchester United.

“I was coming off a difficult month-and-a-half,” said the 30-year-old Sanchez, who injured his ankle late in the season. “I struggled in the first 45 minutes, I felt tired, but I improved in the second half.”

Rueda, debuting with Chile in an official tournament, has been gradually revamping the squad since he took over in 2018. Among the veterans back from the team’s recent triumphs were Vargas, Sanchez and Arturo Vidal, who also had a good opener.

Japan last played in the Copa America in 1999, when it was eliminated in the group stage. Among the youngsters in Brazil was Takefusa Kubo, the 18-year-old who has joined Real Madrid’s “B” team for next season. He played from the start and was a threat for Japan in attack. He got an ovation from the crowd at the Morumbi after getting past a defender with a ball through his legs about 10 minutes into the match. He nearly scored after a nifty move past a defender inside the area in the 65th, but his shot hit the outside of the net. Japan had a few good chances to get on the board toward the end of the game but could not capitalize on them.