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'Only a matter of time'

FCB march on towards title

“One game less, three more points!” Following the wise words of Bayern coach Pep Guardiola, issued after the 4-0 win against SC Freiburg in the last home game, FCB are racing from one victory to the next in the Bundesliga in a determined hunt for their 24th German top-flight title. After Sunday's convincing and comfortable 4-0 win at Hannover 96, Guardiola's team now have a lead of 19 points at the top of the table and are on an unbeaten run of 47 league matches.

“We saw the other teams’ results and knew we could extend our lead today. That's what we wanted. There's a great group dynamic here. That's how we want to carry on,” said sporting director Matthias Sammer on Sunday night after the game played in front of a capacity 49,000 crowd at the HDI Arena, where the treble winners clocked up victory number 20 on Bundesliga Matchday 22. Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund lost on Saturday and both conceded further ground in the race for the title.

Müller bags brace

“Anybody who follows the Bundesliga a bit knows there's not much that can go wrong at this point,” declared Thomas Müller who made a sizeable contribution to the win at the weekend with a brace on 25 and 59 minutes. Thiago (34) and Mario Mandzukic (66) netted the other goals for FCB as Bayern made it 14 clean sheets for the campaign so far. FCB need just six wins from the remaining twelve games to guarantee retaining the league title. “The way we're going and winning games, it's only a matter of time,” added Müller.

Guardiola made four changes to the starting line-up against Hannover compared with the side that faced Arsenal in the Champions League Round of 16. And his reshuffled side needed time to gel before they hit their stride against Hannover 96. “It took a while for us to find our rhythm. We played very well after opening the scoring,” said Guardiola after the game, satisfied with the result and the extended lead in the Bundesliga: “We’re looking at the table but at the end of the day it's all down to us.”

FCB show their class

“We didn't start so well again in the opening 20 minutes,” complained skipper Philipp Lahm. But Bayern were once again “ruthless” (Lahm) in front of goal as they converted two out of three chances to pave the way for victory. “The difference at the moment is that we're fully focused for long periods and we're showing our true class. There's a great level of belief in the team right now as we've gone so long without losing. It all looks very, very easy in the end,” said Lahm, contemplating FCB’s current streak of14 league wins in a row.

What may have looked like a foregone conclusion at the end was the result of hard work, insisted Lahm. “The team worked hard, is working hard and we've got to carry on working hard so it continues to be hard to beat us.” The target for next few weeks is crystal clear: “We want to continue our run as long as possible.”