Created on 26-03-2014 at 12:40 PM
Wednesday morning in Berlin: it was nearly time for the return journey to Munich, but the hotel breakfast room was practically deserted as the champions enjoyed a rare lie-in. Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Co had their coach to thank for the extra couple of hours in bed, as Pep Guardiola decided to cancel a scheduled workout in the German capital. The stars used the time to recover before boarding the team bus for the transfer from the Regent Hotel to Tegel airport shortly before midday.
“We have to celebrate because we deserve it,” Guardiola stated after an ultimately routine 3–1 victory over Hertha BSC – and Super Bayern took him at his word. The freshly-crowned champions hailed the fastest-ever title triumph at the capital’s famous Kitty Cheng night spot until the early hours of the morning. “We have to let it all out!” declared Manuel Neuer, “what a feeling!”
At the Olympic Stadium earlier in the evening, Dante went for a reprise of last year and exchanged his shirt for a replica championship trophy before taking to a megaphone and leading the travelling support in song. “I’m so proud,” the Brazilian said. Jérôme Boateng was arguably even more delirious with joy: “It’s a dream come true for me. We’ve won the title with Bayern in my hometown. Unbelievable!“
The players themselves laid the foundation for the championship party earlier in the evening. “I’m really proud of the pace at the start,” commented Arjen Robben. Toni Kroos (6) and Mario Götze (14) handed FCB a comfortable lead in the first quarter of an hour. “We were determined to wrap up the title here in Berlin,” remarked Neuer, a virtual spectator as the men in red threatened to overrun opponents Hertha.
Manu: It couldn’t be better
“In the first half an hour I thought they were playing with one or two men more,” confessed Hertha coach Jos Luhukay, whose team rediscovered their spine in the second half and briefly threatened to poop the party after 66 minutes when Adrian Ramos pulled one back from the spot. But Franck Ribéry’s delicate chip 11 minutes from time killed off Hertha’s brief resistance, and it was time to get the party started!
“It couldn’t be better,” said Neuer, “winning the title in March is certainly very special.“ Robben said it was actually “a relief to settle the title race so early.” Bastian Schweinsteiger thought back to the previous year’s triumph: “Beating what we managed last year is just incredible!” Robben came up with the appropriate response: “Being crowned champions calls for a celebration!”
And so it came to pass, but even in the hour of their triumph the stars were already turning to forthcoming challenges. “The season isn’t over yet,” warned Dante, “we still have lots to do.“ Board director for sport Matthias Sammer agreed he was “pleased and happy” with the title triumph, but warned the players “we must maintain our rhythm.” And as Boateng acknowledged: “The Champions League and the DFB Cup are two more competitions where we’re looking for a successful conclusion.” If FCB can pull it off the party night will surely be even longer.