Bayern Munich sealed their ninth consecutive German league title on Saturday with a 6-0 display against Mönchengladbach, including a hat-trick from Lewandowski that is now just one length away from Gerd Müller’s historic record of 40 goals in one season.
This title, the 31st in club history, is the second and last for coach Hansi Flick, who will leave his place on the bench to Julian Nagelsmann next season. It will also be the only trophy this season for the Bavarians, eliminated in the German Cup and the Champions League. Dortmund, the last champion team before Bayern in 2012, will probably not boast of having offered a new title to their historic rival. But this victory was crucial for Borussia, which can continue to hope to finish in extremis in the top 4, qualifying for the next C1. In the absence of injured striker Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho scored twice (51st, 87th), after his captain Marco Reus (7th) opened the scoring. For Leipzig, who responded with Lukas Klostermann (63rd) and Dani Olmo (77th), this defeat is not dramatic, since the RB remains second with four points ahead of Wolfsburg. Dortmund and Leipzig will meet in Berlin on Thursday evening for the German Cup final (8:45 p.m.).
Lewandowski vs. Gerd Muller
Bayern players will watch this final on TV, trying to stay focused on their last two meetings, in Freiburg and then at home against Augsburg. Indeed, they still have a collective challenge to overcome: to help Robert Lewandowski break the absolute record of 40 goals in a Bundesliga season – which everyone in Germany believed to be eternal – set in 1971-72 by the legendary Gerd Müller, under the same Bayern jersey. The Pole had scored 35 goals in 26 Bundesliga matches, but an injury at the end of March caused him to miss four matches. He scored again on Matchday 31, and now has just three games left to strike at least four times and equal Müller. “Robert is totally focused and hot for this record,” assured Hansi Flick, who succeeded in eighteen months on the bench a historic feat: seven titles, and only eight defeats in 83 matches! His basic men were, of course, captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, still among the best in the world despite his 34 years, and Lewandowski. But in midfield, Joshua Kimmich has become at 26 the centerpiece of the Bavarian workforce: a defensive midfielder placed very low, he is both a fierce recoverer and the launching pad for the attack.
His mental ascendancy over his teammates makes him a natural boss, likely destined to captain Neuer when he retires. Flick has also been able to restore to the old the confidence lost in recent years: Thomas Müller (10 goals and 18 assists in the Bundesliga) and Jérôme Boateng in central defense have been pillars of the title. This season, Bayern have also had one of those star bickering that has earned them the nickname FC Hollywood. Flick publicly fell out with sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and gave him a resounding “but you’re going to shut up!” in March on the team bus. The same Flick then aroused the fury of its leaders by announcing himself, live on Sky at the end of a match, his intention to leave the club at the end of the season, without going through with his contract in 2023. Since then, the tension has subsided. Flick is in talks with the German Federation to succeed Joachim Löw as coach. And Nagelsmann is preparing to take up the torch with, as the first objective… a tenth consecutive title in 2022.