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Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Bayern prioritise European run over title party

Club president says domestic silverware will not be celebrated because the main focus is the Champions League

Reuters, Thursday 28 Mar 2013
Bayern Munich players celebrate their victory over Bayer Leverkusen following their German first division Bundesliga soccer match in Leverkusen March 16, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
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Views: 788

There will be no celebrations in Munich's Marienplatz, waving of red and white flags or the spilling of beer from the mayor's balcony onto the thousands of supporters below if Bayern Munich clinch the Bundesliga title on Saturday.

With a 20-point lead and eight games remaining, Bayern could clinch a 22nd Bundesliga crown should they beat Hamburg SV and champions Borussia Dortmund fail to win at VfB Stuttgart.

Even though it will represent their first silverware since 2010, when they won the domestic double under then coach Louis van Gaal, and end Dortmund's sensational two-year German reign, there is little mood for celebrations just yet.

"We will quickly get together, then we will go straight home and from Sunday we will only be thinking about Juve," Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said of the team's planned post-match celebrations should they claim the title.

"There will not even be a dinner."

Bayern take on Italy's Juventus in the Champions League quarter-finals next week and as much as the domestic league title will ease pressure on the players, they know that club bosses have set their sights on European glory as well.

"We want to win the Champions League," club president Uli Hoeness said earlier this week.

Bayern, looking for their first European title since 2001 and fifth in total, have lost two Champions League finals in the past three seasons.

Juventus tie

"I would not mind being crowned Bundesliga champions in our home stadium but we will not be celebrating a lot," midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said.

"Everyone has a target in front of their eyes and that is to perform well on Tuesday (against Juventus) so that is why there will not be much celebrating," he added.

"We have not won a title in two years and we are just about to do it, so that would give us a really good push."

Forward Mario Gomez should be fit in time for Saturday's late game after overcoming a minor muscle injury that saw him miss Germany's World Cup qualifying double-header against Kazakhstan on Friday and Tuesday.

"Winning the game against Hamburg will give us the needed confidence to continue," keeper Manuel Neuer added.

Whether it will be business as usual for Bayern, who have won 22 of their 26 games, remains to be seen with Hamburg, in eighth place, looking to secure a European spot and having playmaker Rafael van der Vaart in great form.

"He is currently superb," Hamburg coach Thorsten Fink told reporters on Wednesday. "His two goals for Netherlands a few days ago have certainly boosted his confidence."

Fellow Champions League competitors Dortmund, eager to hold on to second spot, are also on a good run, with Marco Reus (two), Ilkay Guedogan and Mario Goetze scoring all of Germany's goals in the 4-1 win over the Kazakhs on Tuesday.

Third-placed Bayer Leverkusen, four points off Dortmund and also in the hunt for a Champions League spot, travel to Fortuna Dusseldorf.

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