SCOTT PETERSON - Thursday, March 27, 2014
John Brooks and Berlin played witness to championship celebrations, Fabian Johnson helped Hoffenheim climb the table, while Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt are almost assured of safety.
Hertha BSC 1 - 3 Bayern Munich
John Brooks started and went the distance for Berlin, who were unable to prevent Munich from winning their 24th league title.
Brooks made his second start in a row for Hertha after becoming second choice for Jos Luhukay after dealing with injuries.
From the opening whistle Munich were the hungrier side, pressing as they are wont to do and hounding Berlin into errant passes.
It was really to the surprise of no one when Munich scored through Toni Kroos in the sixth minute, and it was the epitome of a team goal. Bastian Schweinsteiger sent a through ball to Thomas Müller in the left side of the box, who backheeled for Kroos, who then tapped in.
Munich piles up passes and regularly dominates possession, but after ten minutes the stats were sstill astounding: 23 passes for Berlin, 108 for Munich.
In the 14th minute it was 2-0 this time through Mario Götze and this time another goal constructed on precision team work. Phillip Lahm had time a space and dished to Arjen Robben, who picked out right back Raffinha, who in turn whipped in a cross to the diminutive Götze, who rose highest to head home.
Munich took their foot off the gas and the game remained 2-0 until the 61st minute, when Berlin pulled one back through an Arian Ramos spot kick.
But the champagne needed not be put on ice as Berlin was as gracious a host as Munich a tenacious guest. Christoph Jancker coughed up the ball in a bad spot to Götze, who sprinted at the back line, before laying off for Franck Ribery, who chipped keeper Kraft for the final 3-1 score and the title.
Munich became the fastest champion ever in Germany amassing 77 points after just 27 matches and finishing on a 19-game winning streak.
Berlin and Brooks are back in action on Friday when they travel to Schalke.
Hoffenheim 3 - 1 Hannover 96
Fabian Johnson and Hoffenheim finally shored up their defense to see off Hannover on Wednesday and move into the upper half of the standings.
After conceding at least two goals in their past six, Hoffenheim gave their high-powered offense some defensive help by surrendering just the one.
But it came early.
With Hannover's first attacking advance, they struck decisively: Artoms Rudnevs and Lars Stindl hooked up well, before the latter set up Leon Andreasen and the Dane coolly beat keeper Grahl for the opener in the tenth minute.
After conceding so many goals on the season, Hoffenheim was by no means caught off guard and needed no time to find a response.
Just two minutes later Roberto Firmino forced keeper Ron Robert Zieler into a save, before Eugen Polanski took full advantage of a botched clearance attempt to equalize with a precise right-footed shot.
Shortly after the break, Hoffenheim doubled their lead as the Brazilian Firmino danced past a defender before slotting a through ball to Anthony Modeste. The striker, alone on goal, looked off the keeper before tucking the ball home near post.
In the 76th minute Hannover were down a goal and a man as Manuel Schmiedebach was sent off for an ugly two-footed challenge on Modeste.
Hannover posed no more of a threat and Hoffenheim added a third for good measure in the 89th minute through Sebastian Rudy, who caught keeper Zieler off his line and converted from 39 yards out.
Hoffenheim and Johnson are back in action on Saturday travelling to newly crowned champions Bayern Munich.
FC Ingolstadt 3 - 0 VfL Bochum
Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt took a mammoth step towards second-division safety by dispatching Bochum on Tuesday.
Morales logged all 90 minutes in the Ingolstadt midfield, helping his squad secure their tenth clean sheet of the season.
The home side took the lead in the 28th minute as Caiuby was felled by Bochum keeper Andreas Luthe in the box. Phillip Hoffmann converted the ensuing spot kick with ease to make it 1-0.
Ingolstadt then put the game away late on with two precision counter attacks.
First Almog Cohen timed his through ball perfectly to send Karl Heinz Lappe into space and alone onto goal, where he slotted home to ice the contest in the 75th minute. Four minutes later Morales got on the scorer's sheet by setting up Hoffmann with a tap in.
Ingolstadt and Morales are now eight points above the relegation zone and are back in action Friday night when they travel to Düsseldorf.
Andrew Wooten was a late sub for FSV Frankfurt's 2-1 defeat to Aue.
Bobby Wood made a late cameo for 1860 Munich, who knocked off Cottbus 2-1.
Matt Taylor came on late for Munster in a 3-1 victory.