No rivals, no problem as Bayern eye Bundesliga record

Bayern could still repeat their 2013 treble titles

FREIBU: Freiburg’s defender Christian Guenter (R) and Munich’s midfielder Sebastian Rudy vie with the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match SC Freiburg versus Bayern Munich on Sunday in Freibu. – AFP

BERLIN: Bayern Munich are 20 points clear in the Bundesliga and could be confirmed champions for the sixth straight season within a fortnight, but veteran coach Jupp Heynckes is demanding they stay focused. A 4-0 thumping of Freiburg on Sunday means Bayern only have to extended their giant lead by two points over the next two weeks to be confirmed league champions.

If they are 22 points clear after playing RB Leipzig away on March 18, a sixth league title in a row will be theirs. It would equal their own league record, set in 2013/14 when Bayern won the Bundesliga with seven games to spare under the leadership of Pep Guardiola. This season only mathematical doubt remains, but Heynckes insists there will be no let-up in their bid for silverware.

It is not the first season Bayern find themselves streets ahead of their league rivals. “Now it’s down to experience and also Jupp Heynckes will not tolerate any nonsense,” Bayern’s chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Bayern were five points adrift in the league when Carlo Ancelotti was sacked last October, but Heynckes, 72, took over, tightened discipline and turned things around.

Having thumped Besiktas 5-0 in the last 16, first-leg of the Champions League, Bayern could still repeat their 2013 treble of European, German Cup and league titles won under Heynckes. The Bundesliga leg of the 2013 treble was wrapped up with six games to spare and Bayern’s captain Thomas Mueller sees no difference this time around. “In the triple year, the championship was decided early and we could keep the tension, so we try this time,” said Mueller.


There is also the Heynckes factor. “He will continue to kick our butts if he sees any drops in voltage,” Mueller said. Having struggled for form under Ancelotti last season, Mueller is back to his absolute best under Heynckes.

One of the best goal poachers in the modern game, he forced Freiburg into conceding an own goal, set one up for Sandro Wager and then fired home Bayern’s fourth on Sunday. It was the sort of outstanding display that makes Mueller a shoo-in for Joachim Loew’s World Cup squad to be named on May 15 as Germany go in search of a second consecutive World Cup.
Heynckes is a master of juggling Bayern’s heavy workload in three competitions and rotating stars. Only winger Kingsley Coman and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer are unvailable with injury. Javi Martinez, Arjen Robben and Robert Lewandowski-a key trio for the away leg at Besiktas on March 14 — sat out the win at Freiburg. After the trip to Istanbul, Bayern face Leipzig away and host Borussia Dortmund in two highlight league fixtures before a potential Champions League quarter-final. “I work very conscientiously with everyone and there is no such thing as lethargy,” said Heynckes.

“We have great ambitions, and a team like FC Bayern cannot afford to play with the handbrake on-we owe it to the fans.” The true test for Bayern lie waiting in April’s Champions League’s quarters and semi-finals – providing they get that far.
There is also a German Cup semi-final at Bayer Leverkusen. Bayern’s European hopes have been ended by Spanish opposition in the knock-out stage of the last four seasons. “There’s no danger of a decline. We have enough experience and top players to move forward. We have a coach who knows exactly what’s required,” Robben told Kicker magazine. – AFP

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