Departure marks end of a glistening decade of success for Bayern
BERLIN: Departing veterans Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben both scored in their final game at the Allianz Arena yesterday as Bayern Munich beat Eintracht Frankfurt 5-1 to wrap up a seventh successive Bundesliga title.
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.
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.
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 equaliser 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 an 85th 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. – AFP
Fans displayed a tifo thanking the pair for their “fight and committment for our colours”, and the two players looked close to tears as they and fellow departing veteran Rafinha were presented to the Allianz Arena for one last time.
“They have defined an era here, and from an emotional point of view, I would have played them, but I have to make sporting decisions,” said coach Niko Kovac. Robben and Ribery will both leave Bayern this summer after 10 and 12 years of respective service.
The wing duo, who have notched up numerous domestic trophies and won the Champions League with Bayern in 2013,now have an eighth Bundesliga title for Robben and a record ninth crown for Ribery. – AFP