BERLIN (Reuters) – Bayern Munich clinched a sixth successive Bundesliga title with five games to spare on Saturday by winning 4-1 win at Augsburg despite falling behind to a bizarre own goal.
Bayern’s celebrations looked in danger of being delayed when the ball went into their net off their own defender Niklas Suele. However, Corentin Tolisso and James Rodriguez replied for the Bavarians before halftime before Arjen Robben and Sandro Wagner put the finishing touches in the second half.
Bayern, who have 72 points from 29 games, moved 20 ahead of Schalke 04, who later lost 3-2 to lowly Hamburg SV.
It was a remarkable personal achievement for Bayern’s 72-year-old coach Jupp Heynckes, who came out of retirement in October to replace Carlo Ancelotti for his fourth stint at the club with Bayern five points off the pace.
He led them to 19 wins in 22 Bundesliga matches on his way to claiming a fourth Bundesliga title as coach, all with Bayern.
“I’d like to send my best wishes to Carlo Ancelotti in Italy,” said Heynckes. “This title is also for him. He is a fantastic coach.”
Augsburg dominated the first half-hour and took an 18th-minute lead with one of the oddest goals Bayern have conceded for a long time.
Defender Jerome Boateng, under no pressure, lost control of the ball and was dispossessed by Sergio Cordova leaving the Venezuelan with only Sven Ulreich to beat.
Cordova’s shot was blocked by the Bayern goalkeeper but ricocheted off the hapless Suele’s face and into the net.
Bayern equalised out of the blue when Tolisso was left unmarked to head in from Joshua Kimmich’s cross in the 32nd minute and the Bavarians took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Rodriguez slipped the ball home from Juan Bernat’s clever backheel six minutes later and the Colombian also set up Robben for the third when he hooked the ball back from the touchline just after the hour.
Bayern, who have won 28 German titles altogether, had eased up by then but there was still time for Sandro Wagner to score a fourth in the 86th minute.
Hamburg, the only-ever present club in the Bundesliga’s 55-year history, moved off the bottom of the table and handed themselves a lifeline when Aaron Hunt’s 30-metre strike in the 84th minute gave them the points against Schalke.
Naldo headed Schalke into an early lead before Filip Kostic, and Lewis Holtby put Hamburg in front. Guido Burgstaller then swept home a rebound to equalise just after the hour.
Hamburg, 17th in the 18-team table, were replaced at the bottom by Cologne who were held 1-1 at home by Mainz 05 in a relegation dogfight.
Jonas Hector gave Cologne an early lead but Pablo de Blasis levelled five minutes into the second half for Mainz who are in 16th place, the relegation playoff spot, with 27 points.
Hamburg are still five points adrift of Mainz with Cologne a further point behind.
Bruno Labbadia claimed his first win since taking over at VfL Wolfsburg when they beat Freiburg 2-0 away with two goals from Daniel Didavi.
The win moved the Wolves two points clear of Mainz 05 and only one behind Freiburg, who are still not out of the woods.
Thorgan Hazard scored two second half goals, the second from a penalty, to give Borussia Moenchengladbach a 2-1 win over Hertha Berlin after Salomon Kalou had put the visitors in front.
Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Clare Fallon and Christian Radnedge