Bayern close in on eighth straight Bundesliga crown
BERLIN: Bayern Munich could cap a memorable season with their eighth straight Bundesliga title on Saturday and should they wrap it up with a home victory over Borussia Moenchengladbach the plaudits would go to coach Hansi Flick who turned their campaign around.
Bayern are on 70 points, seven clear of second-placed Dortmund, who travel to Fortuna Duesseldorf earlier on Saturday. Should Bayern win and Dortmund lose then the Bavarians would have an unassailable lead of 10 points with three games left.
It is a far cry from where they were in November when 55-year-old Flick was promoted from assistant coach to replace Niko Kovac who was sacked with the team struggling for form having dropped to fourth in the table.
The Bavarians, who had won the seven previous league titles in commanding fashion, were then a shadow of their normally dominant selves with Borussia Dortmund emerging as serious title contenders.
Flick instantly instilled confidence in the insecure backline, while also drawing on the experience of forward Thomas Mueller, who had been out of favour under Kovac.
Mueller has been setting up goals ever since, winning his starting spot back and racking up 20 assists this season, while Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski has been firing them in as Bayern quickly climbed up the table.
Lewandowski has scored 30 times in the Bundesliga alone with Bayern netting an all-time league best 90 goals after 30 games.
The team has won 24 of their 27 games under Flick, the best record ever by a new Bayern coach.
He was rewarded initially with a contract to the end of the season before signing a permanent two-year deal in April.
Bayern have been on a 12-game winning run in all competitions and are unbeaten in their last 21 matches, equalling a record set by Spanish coach Pep Guardiola during his spell in Munich.
They will go into the game against fourth-placed Gladbach, who are battling for a Champions League spot, brimming with confidence after Wednesday's 2-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt put them into the German Cup final.
Bayern are also still in the Champions League.
"The way we play football is fun to watch," Flick said. "You want to become better. I have to congratulate the team with the way they have been playing in 2020. For us as coaches it is great.
"We now have four games left in the league and we want to keep focused and be successful. We know we need two more wins."