Bayern Munich can be crowned Bundesliga champions this weekend after taking a 10-point lead at the top of the table with a 2-0 home win over Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday.
Bayern took control of the Allianz Arena with first goals from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Joshua Kimmich after second-placed RB Leipzig suffered a shock defeat in Cologne, threatened with relegation.
With only four games to go, club world champions Bayern will be guaranteed a ninth consecutive German league title with a victory in Mainz on Saturday.
“I told the team before the game that we could take a big step forward to the title, which we did. We now want to win in Mainz as well, ”Bayern coach Hansi Flick said.
Off the pitch, Bayern have been in disarray since Flick dropped a bombshell on Saturday saying he wanted to be released from his contract at the end of the season.
Bayern’s top executives responded by saying he “disapproves of Hansi Flick’s one-sided communication” and wants to focus on this week’s games.
The Bavarian giants also insisted on Tuesday that they would not join the escaped Super League.
On the pitch, it was business as usual as Bayern quickly dominated Leverkusen and scored from their first attack.
When Thomas Mueller’s shot was stopped, Choupo-Moting was there to press the rebound at seven minutes.
Kimmich added Bayern’s second goal in the 14th minute when David Alaba’s cross went only to the German midfielder who shot home from the edge of the box.
Leverkusen raised his game after the break with Leon Bailey shooting past Manuel Neuer, but his goal was ruled offside.
Choupo-Moting had the ball in Leverkusen’s net for the second time with 25 minutes remaining, but his effort was ruled offside.
Bailey’s cross through the six-yard penalty area was then shot from the crossbar by Karim Bellarabi in the 69th minute.
Eintracht Frankfurt moved up to third place with a 2-0 home win over Augsburg thanks to goals from midfielder Martin Hinteregger and striker Andre Silva, who won his 24th league goal this season.
Schalke’s lower side saw their relegation confirmed with a 1-0 loss to Arminia Bielefeld after 30 consecutive years in the German top flight.
Earlier, RB Leipzig collapsed in a 2-1 defeat to Cologne, second from the bottom, whose captain Jonas Hector scored the first Bundesliga brace of his career to end a miserable nine-game streak championship without a win.
“Cologne fought hard and showed passion,” admitted Leipzig attacking midfielder Emil Forsberg.
“We had a few chances, but unfortunately we are not taking advantage of them at the moment and of course we are disappointed.”
After a scoreless first half in Cologne, the game broke out after the break.
Germany international Hector took the lead of his team just 56 seconds after the start of the second half with the visitors’ nap.
Leipzig hit back in the 59th minute when Malian midfielder Amadou Haidara was left unmarked to launch his shot from the edge of the box past Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn.
Barely 100 seconds after Cologne conceded the equalizer, Hector struck again, recovering a shot just outside the box, holding his marker and shooting into the bottom corner.
“Today everyone did everything to win – this is crucial for the weeks to come,” added Jonas Hector, Cologne still in one of the places of automatic relegation.
The result bolsters Cologne’s survival hopes with games against mid-table Augsburg and Freiburg to come before facing wrestlers Hertha Berlin away on the final day of the season.
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