Bayern three wins from title as Arsenal loom
BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
Bayern's Thomas Mueller celebrates after scoring during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and Fortuna Duesseldorf, in Munich, Germany, Saturday, March 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)Bayern Munich are now just three wins away from their 23rd German league title after fighting back for a 3-2 win over Fortuna Duesseldorf on Saturday to leave them 20 points clear in the Bundesliga.
With nine matches left this season, Bayern are set to claim the record for the earliest confirmed Bundesliga title victory and lift their first silverware since May 2010.
If they win their next three games, the Bavarian giants will be confirmed league winners at Eintracht Frankfurt on April 6.
It would be a title based on a remarkably solid defence as even after leaking two goals against Frankfurt, they have conceded just ten in the league all season.
Victory over Fortuna took Bayern's winning run to 11 matches as Germany defender Jerome Boateng's 86th-minute header gave them three more points after Thomas Mueller and then France wing Franck Ribery had earlier equalised.
Bayern are bidding to become the first German team to win the treble and face Arsenal in the second round of the Champions League on Wednesday with a 3-1 lead from the first leg in London three weeks ago.
"You get days like these, but what matters is that we won. It's good for our mental state prior to playing Arsenal," said goal-scorer Ribery.
Ex-Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola will take charge of Bayern on July 1 and current trainer Jupp Heynckes is determined to bow out after three years in charge with a title, but is refusing to accept congratulations just yet.
"As the game showed, you've never won a match before kick-off," said Heynckes, who side distanced second-placed Borussia Dortmund even further after the latter's 2-1 defeat at Schalke.
"Until it's a mathematical certainty, we're not accepting congratulations.
"We were too passive in the first half-hour, we didn't cover enough ground, there wasn't enough bite.
"But we turned it around thanks to our class, although it was tight.
"All credit to Fortuna, they made life hard for us, but we also saw that we have fantastic morale." With stars Javi Martinez and Dante rested, match-winner Boateng said the team had shown their character.
"It wasn't our best performance, but it's a mark of our quality that we can turn a game like that around," said the Germany defender.
"We showed morale as a team and fought back twice.
"I think that's important for the rest of the season."