Bayern hope to cap successful week with Bundesliga title

Reuters , Thursday 23 Apr 2015

 Bayern Munich
Players of Bayern Munich celebrate their second goal against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim during their German first division Bundesliga soccer match in Sinsheim, April 18, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Bayern Munich have all but secured their third consecutive Bundesliga title and victory over Hertha Berlin on Saturday could see them clinch it as early as this weekend.

Buoyed by their 6-1 demolition of Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday and a spot in the last four, Bayern have been all smiles this week.

Plagued by injuries for the past few months, the situation is gradually improving with key players returning as the season draws to a close and Bayern are chasing a treble of titles.

Spaniard Javi Martinez was back in training on Wednesday after tearing a knee ligament eight months ago. His Spain team mate Thiago Alcantara returned recently from his own one-year injury break.

Bastian Schweinsteiger also looks to have fully recovered from his ankle injury while Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are eyeing their own comebacks soon.

Victory over Hertha would put Bayern 15 points clear with four matches remaining but before celebrating the title they will have to wait and see what VfL Wolfsburg will do on Sunday at Borussia Moenchengladbach.

A win for second-placed Wolfsburg would maintain Bayern's 12 point lead and delay their celebrations for at least a week.

"We are a step away from becoming champions and moving in to the German Cup final," Bayern coach Pep Guardiola said. "I know that only the treble matters. We want to win on Saturday and win the title because that remains the most important one for us."

Wolfsburg, chasing their first Champions League spot since winning the Bundesliga in 2009, have long secured a top four finish but are eager to make sure of a group stage appearance next season with a second place.

Gladbach and Bayer Leverkusen are seven points behind on 54 with Schalke 04 fifth on 42 and all but out of the running for a top four finish.

At the other end of the table, a battle to avoid relegation has been raging for months but Hamburg SV, former German and European champions, are now damned to Augsburg if they are to preserve any real chances of staying up.

Hamburg are the only team never to have played in the second division since the creation of the Bundesliga in 1963 but are anchored in last place on 25, two behind the relegation playoff spot and four away from safety.

They have a mountain to climb against Augsburg, who reignited their European hopes with a 2-1 victory over VfB Stuttgart last week to join Schalke on 42.

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