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Bayern on brink of milestone

Updated: 2014-03-24 07:36
By Agence France-Presse in Berlin ( China Daily)

Rampant Bundesliga leader set to wrap up crown in record time

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola is poised to win the Bundesliga title in record time on Tuesday at Hertha Berlin on his debut season with the Bavarian giant.

A 19th consecutive league victory at Berlin's Olympic Stadium will give Bayern its 24th German title with seven matches left, beating its own record it set last season.

Bayern's 2-0 win at Mainz 05 on Saturday left it a massive 23 points clear in the league and it will be uncatchable if it wins at Hertha.

"I am just pleased about winning against one of the toughest teams we will face this season," said Guardiola in Mainz.

"We only need one more win now. It is in our own hands. We can be champions in the capital.

"We have extended our record to 18 wins on the trot. That is the result of a lot of hard work."

Having won 14 of a possible 19 titles during four years as Barcelona coach, Guardiola is set to claim his third title in nine months at Bayern having already won the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup.

Having won the treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup under Guardiola's predecessor Jupp Heynckes last season, Bayern has continued its stranglehold on the German league title.

Guardiola's side is just eight matches away from becoming the first team to go through an entire season in Germany's top flight unbeaten.

Bayern left it late at Mainz with midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger striking with a header on 82 minutes.

His Germany teammate Mario Goetze then netted the European champion's second four minutes later.

Bayern fired in 23 shots on goal to Mainz's four as it extended its record unbeaten run to 51 Bundesliga matches and earn its 18th consecutive league win.

Having drawn Manchester United in the quarterfinals, Bayern has made no secret of its desire to be the first team to defend the Champions League title.

"We are not really concerned about when we win the title, we want to maintain our rhythm," said Bayern goalscorer Schweinsteiger.

"You always have to work hard for victory here in Mainz. They are very aggressive and they press high up the field.

"The first half wasn't easy, but they were tired towards the end."

Bayern's Germany defender Jerome Boateng said he is relishing the clash against Hertha at Berlin's Olympic City having been born in the capital.

"It is wonderful that we could win the league in Berlin, which is where it all started for me," said the 25-year-old, the half brother of Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng.

"We have prepared the way for it today and taken a step closer."

 Bayern on brink of milestone

Bayern Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrates his goal during the Bundesliga match against Mainz 05 in Mainz on Saturday. Bayern won the match 2-0. Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters

(China Daily 03/24/2014 page23)