BERLIN, Germany, April 22 – Borussia Dortmund were crowned German league champions for the second consecutive season on Saturday having proved their worth by beating main title rivals Bayern Munich home and away.
Dortmund’s win at home to Moenchengladbach left the defending champions eight points clear with two games remaining and they will be presented with the Bundesliga shield in their final game at home to Freiburg on May 5.
Jurgen Klopp’s team suffered the last of their three league defeats back September and have now extended their record for the longest unbeaten run in a single German league season to 26.
Having amassed 75 points, they can still beat the record of 79 for the most league points won in a season which Bayern achieved twice in the early 1970s.
The champions have dominated Bayern in both the table and on the pitch of late as the Bavarians have lost their last four matches against Dortmund and not beaten the champions, home or away, since February 2010.
After beating the Bavarians 1-0 at Munich’s Allianz Arena last November, thanks to a single goal from Germany’s teenage star Mario Goetze, Borussia backed it up with another 1-0 win over Munich in Dortmund on April 11.
This is the first time for 16 years Bayern have been denied the German title for two seasons running when Dortmund last earned back-to-back titles in 1994/95 and 1995/96 before winning the 1997 Champions League title.
Bayern still have the chance for revenge when the teams meet for a third time this season in the German Cup final on May 12 at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.
Having won last season’s league title by seven points, Dortmund started the new season with a 3-1 home win over Hamburg, but the shock of the opening weekend was Bayern’s 1-0 defeat at home to Moenchengladbach.
It heralded Gladbach as the season’s dark horses as Lucien Favre’s team went from last season’s relegation play-off to title contenders until they fell away in the final few weeks of the season.
While Bayern quickly recovered to lead the table after the fourth game of the season, Dortmund needed until the end of November to briefly claim top spot, before losing it to Bayern again.
Once Japan winger Shinji Kagawa found his rhythm to lead their attack and striker Robert Lewandowski started scoring, Dortmund racked up the results and steadily climbed the table.
Klopp’s team went into the winter break in second spot, and three points behind Bayern, but refused to look back once the league resumed in January.
While Munich began 2012 with a 3-1 defeat at Gladbach, Dortmund’s 5-1 victory at Hamburg heralded their title charge as Poland striker Lewandowski and national team-mate Jakub Blaszczykowski both netted twice.
After Hamburg, Dortmund won their next seven games to open up a five-point gap over Bayern.
With Bayern on the verge of the Champions League final after their 2-1 first-leg semi-final win over Real Madrid last week, Dortmund’s group stage exit proved to be a helping factor in Klopp’s team defending their title.
When Bayern travelled to Dortmund in April, Lewandowski’s 77th-minute winner settled both the match and, effectively, the season to make sure the Bundesliga shield stays in the Ruhr valley for another 12 months.