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Bundesliga title a footnote in Bayern´s grand plans

It is perhaps telling that, after Borussia Monchengladbach’s win over Wolfsburg handed Bayern Munich the Bundesliga title, celebrations in Bavaria were somewhat muted.

For any ordinary club, a 25th German title – their 24th since the Bundesliga’s inception – would serve as a cause for jubilant scenes and open-top bus parades even if the success was confirmed without kicking a ball.

However, for Bayern Munich and Pep Guardiola it was a case of putting the party on hold, with near-annual end-of-season DFB-Pokal and UEFA Champions League challenges still to come. 

“We’ll have a magnificent party at some stage, no worries. But all in good time,” explained CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Bayern eased to a third consecutive Bundesliga title with four games remaining despite key players suffering from the exertions of a successful World Cup campaign with Germany.

Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm were among those plagued by injuries although Guardiola’s deep and talented squad were more than capable of holding off the challenge of Wolfsburg.

A 4-1 defeat at the hands of Dieter Hecking’s men after the mid-season break proved a mere blip for a side who led the chasing pack from matchday five onwards.

Borussia Dortmund – normally Bayern’s closest challengers for the title – spent much of their season pre-occupied with avoiding relegation. 

While Jurgen Klopp’s side stand in the way of Bayern doing the domestic double again ahead of their Pokal semi-final on Tuesday, much of Guardiola’s focus will be on former club Barcelona.

The German giants have reached the Champions League final three times in the previous five seasons but lifted the trophy just once – under the Spaniard’s predecessor Jupp Heynckes.

Guardiola will need to mastermind a semi-final victory over his former club if he is to stand a chance of truly writing himself into Bayern folklore and repeat Heynckes’ treble achievement that took place shortly before his arrival.

Despite racking up the 20th honour of his coaching career, Guardiola has been the subject of near-constant rumours over his future with much discussion over whether he would welcome a somewhat more challenging domestic title race abroad.

However, Guardiola says he remains fully committed to Bayern ahead of their biggest challenge.

Such is the size of the Bayern juggernaut that securing only the Bundesliga and Pokal crowns would again be classed as a failure at Sabener Strasse.

Fans and bosses at the Allianz Arena – while no doubt pleased with another title in the bag – will be keen for any league and cup double to serve as momentum for what Guardiola’s Bayern crave the most –  repeated European dominance.

Mon 27 Apr, 2015
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