Bayern set to party as United loom
Pep Guardiola says he will allow his Bayern Munich squad to celebrate their record Bundesliga title success if they win at Hertha Berlin on Tuesday, even with Manchester United looming.
A 19th consecutive league victory will give Bayern their 24th German league title at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium with seven matches left, beating their own Bundesliga record of six, set last season.
With their Champions League quarterfinal at Manchester United just a week away, Bayern have made no secret that their focus is on Europe as they bid to become the first team to successfully defend the title.
Bayern are a massive 23 points clear in the German league and they will be uncatchable if they win at Hertha, which Guardiola says is reason for a party, albeit a small one.
“If we win, we have to celebrate,” said 43-year-old Guardiola, who is set to claim his third title in nine months at Bayern after winning the Uefa Super Cup and Club World Cup.
“We want to win the title as soon as possible.
“Regardless of when we win it, the players will be fit and focused against Manchester.”
Bayern have demolished a string of records in Guardiola’s first season in charge and are on a 51-match unbeaten run in the league and have won their last 18 Bundesliga games – both of which are records.
But the Spaniard has yet to experience the traditional “beer shower”, when the title-winning team soak each other with huge glasses of beer following the final whistle once the Bundesliga trophy is secured.
Guardiola has said he will not be taking a second suit to Berlin: “I won’t stay on the pitch, I’ll go to the dressing room” with celebrations planned for Munich’s Marienplatz when the season is over.
Having won 14 out of a possible 19 titles in four years as coach of Barcelona, Guardiola is all but guaranteed his first Bundesliga title.
“It’s the most important title for me,” he said, having previously referred to the Bundesliga as “pizza and burgers” compared to the “nice restaurant” of the Champions League.
“It is difficult to be focused every week, to always win and to demonstrate that you are better than your opponent.
“When you win the title, you’ve played a good season.”
In other news Bayern’s Brazilian defender Dante has signed a new contract keeping him at the club until June 2017.
“It was the best decision of my life to come to Bayern,” declared Dante, who joined the German giants from Borussia Moenchengladbach in 2012.