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March 25, 2014
• Olympiastadion Berlin, Berlin
Referee: M. Fritz
• Attendance: 76197
A. Ramos 66'
T. Kroos 6'
M. Götze 14'
F. Ribéry 79'
That's all we have time for from the Olympiastadion, as Bayern wrapped up the Bundesliga title in March with a 3-1 away win over Hertha Berlin. The league leaders were overwhelming favourites and took care of their business efficiently and calmly. I've been Simon Harrison and Bayern continue to strike fear into the hearts of all those involved in European football.
They've secured the title unbeaten and despite tonight not showing vintage Bayern, they've been by far good enough. Ribery's beautiful chip was an excellent way to wrap things up, with Die Roten continuing to achieve things that the rest of the footballing world are envious of.
FULL TIME! THERE WE HAVE IT, BAYERN ARE CHAMPIONS OF GERMANY! Goals from Kroos, Gotze and Ribery have carved Die Roten's name on the trophy and it's smiles all round! Hertha were resurgent in the second half, but a penalty from Adrian Ramos just wasn't enough!
Only a few minutes remain between Guardiola and his first Bundesliga title and you can't help but feel there are more to come. This will be Schweinsteiger's seventh league title, putting the substituted midfielder merely one behind Bayern legend Oliver Kahn.
Adrian Ramos goes down with cramp in the late stages of the game, asking his coach Luhukay for a substitution. He's been everywhere for Hertha tonight, chasing lost causes all game and the Colombian won't be disappointed with how he acquitted himself.
To give an idea of the achievement on Guardiola's part this season, the Spaniard is only the second foreign coach to win the Bundesliga in the last 17 campaigns. In his debut season, in a situation where expectation has been so high, the former Barca man has been excellent in moulding this team into possession-based champions.
Another cross is floated into the Hertha penalty area, but the referee calls play back for handball. The home side break upfield, with Ramos earning his side a corner and the Colombian continues to show why he's linked with top European sides. In a better side, he could really be hurting Bayern this evening.
Ten minutes until time is called on this fixture and you can't look beyond Bayern now. Hertha's second half resurgence led by Ramos halted the away fan's choreography briefly, but now the fake Bundesliga trophies are out in force in the away section!
Assist Mario Götze
Goal Franck Ribéry
GOOOOOOOOOAL! THAT SHOULD BE THE TITLE WRAPPED UP FOR BAYERN! It's so, so easy for the away side and what a finish! Gotze and Ribery exchange possession, before the latter clips a delicate chip over Kraft and into the net from a tight angle!
GOTZE! Lahm breaks into the Hertha penalty area, having to contend with a terrible bobble, before squaring a pass back into his compatriot's path. Gotze can only blast his effort miles over the crossbar with Kraft happy to watch.
The away fans continue to maintain their high volume of chanting, but they certainly haven't seen the Bayern they are used to in the second half. Hertha are marshalling their penalty area well, with Kraft forced into action sparingly.
Twenty minutes remain, with Ribery starting to have more of an effect on proceedings. The France international cuts inside from the left before feeding Gotze, but the goalscorer can only cannon an effort into the defender positioned directly in front of him. Bayern begin to turn the screw again.
Ronny Heberson Furtado de Araújo
Ronny takes to the field for the home side, much to the delight of the Hertha faithful. The Brazilian has an eye for goal and could have a profound effect on the Bundesliga title race - if by profound, we mean delaying Bayern for another week or so. A cross is squared for Mandzukic, but the Croatian is beaten to the ball by Kraft.
Twenty minutes remaining and Bayern might just start to get that little bit nervous. They looked assured throughout the first half, but haven't dominated in the second. Commitment and desire are starting to shine through from the hosts.
Yellow Card Per Ciljan Skjelbred
As aforementioned, Hertha are the only other side in the Bundesliga to net twice against Bayern this season - this would be quite an occasion for Die Alte Dame to pull off the same again! Ramos has been their key man all game, but that goal might just re-awaken the Die Roten beast.
Penalty Goal A. Ramos
GOOOOOOAL! It's ever so calm from Ramos, as the striker clips the ball down the centre of the goal, sending Neuer the wrong way! It's basically a Panenka, an audacious effort when you're facing one of the world's best goalkeepers. Bayern only lead 2-1 now!
PENALTY FOR HERTHA! Ramos is bundled to the ground after challenging with Rafinha in the air and it's been clear all game that the Colombian has been the hosts' best outlet. This is a big chance for the hosts!
Thiago replaces Schweinsteiger, with world-class quality again showing the depth of Bayern's squad. Hertha make their own change, with Niemeyer taking to the field in place of Kobiashvili. No real chances in this second half for Neuer to deal with, but at least the Bayern keeper got into the stadium to watch the game for free.
ALABA! The Austrian full-back is found in space on the edge of the 18-yard box, but can only arrow the ball over the crossbar. It's a tough skill to keep those types of volleys down, but there's definitely a renewed pressure about Bayern's play now.
MANDZUKIC! The Croatian international tries his luck from a tight angle, forcing a good save out of Kraft. The Hertha shot-stopper uses his foot well to stab the effort away.
Half an hour remains, with Bayern continuing to look as though they'll be lifting their 24th Bundesliga trophy at the end of this match. Hertha have improved in the second half, but it's more down to Bayern taking their foot off the gas than anything else.
Half chance for Bayern, as a long range effort curls wide of the far post, before Hertha break forward. Dante looks to challenge Skjelbred, but the Brazilian pulls out. The Norway international still tumbles to the ground, with the referee not impressed. Bayern have another half a chance as Mandzukic brings the ball down at the far post, but Van den Bergh is on hand to rob him of possession.
Mario Mandzukic and Franck Ribery are introduced for the hosts, with Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller replaced. Guardiola is resting his key players, as well as looking to shake Die Roten out of a few drowsy minutes. A third goal would certainly wrap up proceedings, as Hertha are the only side to net twice against Bayern this season in the Bundesliga.
A relative lull in terms of chances, by Bayern's standards this season, as Die Roten haven't offered anything offensively for five minutes. Schulz cuts inside onto his right foot, before dragging his eventual effort well wide of the near post. Hertha are looking a little bit better.
That half chance for Hertha appears to have shocked Bayern into another stage of real dominance. After briefly switching off ever so slightly, the away side start to stroke the ball around sharply again, keen to wrestle back the impetus and momentum.
RAMOS! Nearly a goal back for the home side! Schulz bursts down the left hand side, before squaring a dangerous cross into the path of Ramos. The Colombian forward can't quite reach it, allowing for Alaba to hoof clear with Skjelbred bearing down on him at the back post.
Robben is present in the Hertha penalty area once again, skipping inside Hosogai and looking to shoot, but is robbed of possession. He might be getting boos constantly from the home fans, but he's been fantastic thus far tonight. It was thought that the Dutchman wouldn't match Guardiola's playing style, but his recently renewed contract and form suggests the polar opposite.
The second period starts positively for Bayern, with Robben denied the opportunity to tuck home a third goal by the offside flag. Other sides might be forgiven for switching off in such a scenario, but teams under Guardiola seem unable to feel complacent.
We're back underway for the second half, with 45 minutes of football separating Bayern from their 24th Bundesliga title. Plenty is at stake for the visitors, despite their ridiculous points cushion over second-placed Borussia Dortmund, with their travelling fans demanding something to celebrate this evening.
Be sure to rejoin us in ten minutes time for all of the second half action, as Hertha endeavour to turn this game around, which would include a heap of luck and some brilliance from nowhere. Bayern have won the last 27 games where Robben has figured in the starting eleven and aren't showing any signs of doing otherwise tonight.
Bayern are two goals to the good, but it so easily could have been more. Gotze and Robben have had plenty of opportunities, with Muller striking the crossbar late in the half. Die Roten's forward three have been a real handful, with Gotze in particular making Van den Bergh's life a living hell.
HALF TIME! Bayern are ahead and are showing no signs of slowing down, with goals from Kroos and Gotze placing one Die Roten hand on the Bundesliga trophy. Ramos has been a physical presence in fleeting moment during the opening 45 minutes, but the visitors have been dominant.
Muller is put through on goal by an excellent lofted ball from Boateng, but the young forward can't clip the pass over Kraft and into the Hertha net. Bayern are superior and the hosts will be attempting to reach the break without conceding once again. Robben slips over in the penalty area under pressure from Van den Bergh and the referee isn't inclined to give a penalty.
Bayern continue to enjoy the lion's share of possession and their fans are in fantastic voice. This is a party, they feel as though the title is being decided tonight, though the reality has been that the Bundesliga has been a lost cause for the other teams involved for a long time.
Bayern edge towards the break with a two goal cushion, but it could so easily have been more. The visitors' attacking trio have been fantastic, with Hertha unable to keep tabs on Gotze whatsoever, who is absolutely running riot. The home side try to slip Ramos through on goal, but the pass is too heavy for the Colombian striker.
Gotze breaks down the right hand side yet again, with Van den Bergh being given a torrid test in the first half. The cross is angled towards Robben at the edge of the six yard box, but Kraft comes off his line to claim ahead of the Dutchman. Smiles and applause all round from the Bayern players, they're enjoying themselves out there.
CROSSBAR! It's nearly three before the break, but Muller is frustrated to see his header cannon back off the woodwork! Alaba picks out Gotze at the back post, with the attacking midfielder cutting the ball back smartly for Muller, but Kraft is relieved to see the Germany international's effort thud against the bar! The Hertha goalkeeper claims the rebound under pressure from Robben.
Ten minutes until the break and it isn't looking likely that Hertha will grab a goal back to make this game interesting. In the last few passages of play, the home side have managed to worry Bayern's defensive partnership, but not enough to test Neuer. Gotze again scampers down the right flank, but can only fire a tame effort wide of the near post.
Lovely skill from Gotze! The former Dortmund man looks to release Muller with an excellent backheel but his teammate isn't quite on the same wavelength! Meanwhile, Rafinha goes down holding his eye, as a challenge with Ramos appears to have left the Brazilian rather sore - it looked like an accidental arm to the face.
Ramos continues to be Hertha's only real outlet, as the Colombia international once again flicks on a long ball, but Lahm is on hand to drop in between the central defenders and clear. The pace and physicality of the hosts' striker is at least some kind of test for the combination of Boateng and Dante.
Poor delivery from Ramos! The Colombian breaks away down the left wing, before clipping an attempted cross to the far post, but it's far too heavy for Skjelbred to meet! The Norwegian midfielder puts up an encouraging thumb to thank his teammate, but that was an awful ball.
The travelling supporters demand even more from their side, who are looking extremely comfortable. The ball isn't sticking to Ramos too brilliantly, with Alaba and Rafinha able to leave their defensive posts at will. It's all Bayern.
GOTZE! WHAT A CHANCE! Fantastic work from Robben, who streaks down the left channel, being picked out by Kroos brilliantly, before clipping a ball to the edge of the six yard box. Gotze isn't quite tall enough to meet it, allowing for Van den Bergh to clear.
Alaba looks to slide Gotze in behind the Hertha back four, before racing into the box himself, but the Germany international is caught offside. Neuer remains totally unchallenged in between Bayern's post and hasn't been called into action to distribute the ball either.
The possession is nearly mesmerising, Bayern are continuing to move in their fluid patterns with Hertha having absolutely no answer for it. It doesn't matter who Bayern play or where they face them, their brand of football doesn't necessarily rely on the inadequacies of other outfits, simply the brilliance of their own personnel.
We're merely 20 minutes into this game, but it already appears won. Guardiola isn't keen to give into complacency, barking out instructions and ensuring that his masterpiece goes as planned. Even as the first goal went in, the former Barcelona coach called Alaba over to give the full-back some apparently necessary advice.
Good interception from Boateng! Schulz breaks down the right flank, baiting a challenge from Dante before sweeping a pass into Ramos. The Colombian striker tries to stretch to reach the ball, but the Germany international sneaks in ahead of the Hertha forward to clear the danger.
ROBBEN! It's speculative, but why not! The Netherlands international takes aim from 30 yards, but Kraft collects easily. Die Roten are dominating the game, the ball, the league and the country. The away fans are already celebrating as though they've won the title and you can't blame them for feeling so assured.
It is all just too, too easy for this side. Guardiola has moulded an already fantastic team into one who simply don't seem to lose the ball. Hertha have been trapped in their own half all game and look absolutely shellshocked. Adrian Ramos has barely touched the ball.
Assist Bastian Schweinsteiger
Goal Mario Götze
GOOOOOOOOOOAL! IT'S TWO INSIDE THE OPENING 15 MINUTES FOR BAYERN! They're unstoppable! Hertha fail to touch the ball for a few minutes, before a dinking near post cross from Schweinsteiger is turned home by the head of Gotze!
The home side haven't managed to touch the ball all too often in the opening quarter of an hour, with Guardiola's men unsurprisingly monopolising possession. Robben attempts a cute chip over the Hertha backline in search of Gotze, with the pass bobbles through to Kraft.
Bayern want a penalty, but the referee isn't interested! Alaba is released by a clever backheel by Gotze, before haring into the box. The Austria international goes down under pressure from Janker, but there's not enough contact there for Bayern to feel too aggrieved with the decision.
The travelling fans are jubilant, they're merely seeing an extension of their team's form. Gotze manages to wriggle into the penalty area, skipping past the challenge of Van den Bergh, before Kraft is able to smother the loose ball. It doesn't seem that complacency has become an issue for Die Roten, the Bayern steamroller continues to press on relentlessly.
Goal Toni Kroos
GOOOOOOOAL! KROOS TUCKS HOME AT THE BACK POST TO GIVE BAYERN THE LEAD! He's left in plenty of space at the far post, before Muller picks out his teammate, allowing for the midfielder to stroke the ball past Kraft and into the bottom corner!
Predictably, it has been all Bayern in the first few minutes, with Die Roten dominating possession and stroking the ball around calmly. There seems to be a goal building already, it's inevitable!
Great work from Robben in the early stages! The Dutchman truly is flying, causing Van den Bergh plenty of problems with his change of pace and wonderful dribbling ability. The away side are happy to sit back in two deep banks, appearing to adhere to the mentality of damage limitation for any visitors to the Allianz Arena this season.
This will be Bayern's 24th league title win, should Guardiola's side come out with three points this evening, with a mere 38 point cushion between themselves and their adversaries tonight. Utter dominance from a team who appear to have forgotten how to lose. Robben almost wriggles through into a one-on-one situation early on, but Van den Bergh stays strong to win the ball back.
We're underway in the first half, which is being played yet again in front of a capacity crowd at the Olympiastadion in Berlin. Plenty of fans will be expecting another Bayern masterclass this evening and it looks very likely that they'll get it - though Adrian Ramos has the potential to be a thorn in the side of Die Roten's machine. It must be said, we're in a party atmosphere here, with many fans clad in red expecting the Bundesliga trophy to be Bayern within the next two hours.
We're moments from kick-off, so stand by to see 90 minutes of football which could decide the Bundesliga for another season. Bayern are unbeaten and in formidable form both home and away, leaving Hertha with an extremely difficult task at hand despite being in their own stadium.
Bayern have opted to field a strong side, though the world-class likes of Thiago and Franck Ribery can't get a place in the starting line-up with Guardiola perhaps having one eye on other competitions. Rafinha continues to get a run at right-back as the Brazilian tries to implant himself firmly in Scolari's World Cup plans, while Arjen Robben remains on the right hand side in the wake of signing a new contract. Both Bastian Schweinsteiger and Xherdan Shaqiri are included in the matchday squad after stating in the last few days that they have no intention of leaving Bayern any time soon.
One man who has his opportunity to shine on the big stage today is 19-year attacking midfielder Hany Mukhtar, who has made only seven league appearances this season for the away side. Playing in behind Ramos, plenty will be asked of the inexperienced youngster in terms of pressing and trying to keep Die Alte Dame's lines compact.
A quarter of an hour remains before kick-off, so be sure to stick around to see Bayern's endeavour to win the Bundesliga in record time. They've managed 24 wins, 2 draws and no defeats, as Guardiola attempts to recreate the masterful triple which the management of Jupp Heynckes was responsible for last season. With the hosts on an unbeaten run which has surpassed that of the invicible Arsenal side of years gone by, the formbook doesn't make good reading for Hertha, who haven't managed to pick up a win in their last four fixtures.
Bastian Schweinsteiger can make himself a bit of personal history tonight too, with the Germany international able to become the first player in Bundesliga history to win seven league titles before he reaches the age of 30. Testament to Bayern's exceptional campaign this year, they've been breaking scandalous records left, right and centre for quite a while - and look set to stay on the same course.
Hertha substitutes: N'Djeng, Ronny, Niemeyer, Holland, Gersbeck, Wagner.
Hertha starting line-up: Kraft; Pekarik, Janker, Brooks, Van der Bergh; Hosogai, Kobiashvili; Skjelbred, Mukhtar, Schulz; Ramos.
Bayern substitutes: Starke, Van Buyten, Thiago, Ribery, Mandzukic, Shaqiri, Pizarro.
Bayern starting line-up: Neuer; Rafinha, Boateng, Dante, Alaba; Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Kroos; Robben, Gotze, Muller.
TEAM NEWS: Sebastian Langkamp is missing at the heart of Hertha's defence due to suspension, while Fabian Lustenberger and Alexander Baumjohann remain sidelined through injury. Danger man Adrian Ramos will continue to provide the main threat for the hosts, with Per Skjelbred maintaining his place in the middle of the park. Nico Schulz is the preferred option on the left hand side of midfield. Ronny and N'Djeng can only enjoy spots on the benches, with the likes of Mukhtar and Kobiashvili involved.
TEAM NEWS: Holger Badstuber remains the only long-term injury absentee for Die Roten, with Pep Guardiola having a plethora of high-quality options to choose from. Jerome Boateng comes back into the side in central defence, in place of Javi Martinez, with Philipp Lahm returning to central midfield. Mario Gotze will lead the line for the hosts in the false nine role, with Thomas Muller and the newly committed Arjen Robben either side of the former Borussia Dortmund youngster.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be leading you through all of the action in Munich, as the league leaders visit newly promoted Hertha Berlin, who have been this season's surprise package. Due to a few key absentees, Die Alte Dame won't be at full strength during their sternest away test of the season, but Jos Luhukay's side will be determined to make Bayern's life difficult as they bid to clinch the Bundesliga trophy this evening.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Bayern's hosting of Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga, as Pep Guardiola's side bids to become the German top flight's record-breaking champions. Die Roten can take the title with a win at the sizeable Olympiastadion Berlin, which would see the Bundesliga trophy secured in astonishing time - merely 27 matches.
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