The new millennium: Haching and medicine balls

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FC Bayern have won the German championship for the 25th time. To mark the milestone achievement, looks back at the club's 25 domestic title triumphs and the associated facts, anecdotes and legends. In the build-up to a weekend of celebrations, we review five past successes every day from Monday to Friday. Part 4 features 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2006.


What a finish! On the last matchday Leverkusen played away to Unterhaching with a three-point edge over FC Bayern, but Bayer spectacularly lost a 2-0 heartbreaker in the south of Munich. Meanwhile the Reds entertained Bremen in a thrilling clash 14 kilometres further north at the Olympiastadion, clinching the championship title with a 3-1 victory: the goal difference was decisive (+7 compared to Leverkusen). Of course FCB invited the heroes of Haching on the fly to the championship party in the evening. Oliver Kahn had another reason to celebrate: he was elected Footballer of the Year.


A furious finale started on Matchday 33: table-toppers Schalke lost away to Stuttgart in a 1-0 reverse, FC Bayern won 2-1 against Kaiserslautern with a last-minute winner by Alex Zickler. The Munich men played away to Hamburg with a three-point edge over S04 on the last matchday; Schalke, having a better goal difference than FCB, hosted Unterhaching. Schalke won their game 5-3, FCB conceded a goal by Sergej Barbarez in the 90th minute: 1-0. The Royal Blues celebrated, Oliver Kahn asked the official in Hamburg: "How much longer?" -- "Three minutes," said Markus Merk. Kahn screamed at his team-mates, spurring them on: "Three minutes! Go! Three minutes!" Then, in the fourth minute of extra time, HSV keeper Schober handled a back-pass. Bayern were awarded an indirect free-kick -- and Patrik Andersson netted the ball, scoring the equaliser! Ottmar Hitzfeld was the first Bayern coach after Udo Lattek to wrap up the third championship title in a row. A few days later the Reds clinched a long-awaited Champions League triumph too: 5-4 after a penalty shootout against Valencia.


The Reds wanted to wrap up the championship title with their new signings Michael Ballack, Sebastian Deisler and Zé Roberto. It worked -- and how! Bayern thrilled the league as the white ballet, topping the table on Matchday 4. Bayern, finishing the season with a 16-point lead, were confirmed champions as early as Matchday 30 -- they had only previously achieved it that early back in 1973. Giovane Elber finished leading scorer on 21 goals together with Bochum striker Thomas Christiansen.


A culture shock for Bayern! At the beginning of the season Felix Magath took over Ottmar Hitzfeld's team -- and he was a completely different kind of coach. He moulded a compact team in shipshape condition, fighting out a head-to-head with Schalke 04 for a long time. The Royal Blues took over at the top of the stadnings for a short time after a 1-0 victory over Bayern on Matchday 25. Thanks to a furious run of nine wins in a row FCB wrapped up their 19th championship title 14 points clear of Schalke in the end. It is remembered as the medicine ball championship after Magath's punishing fitness routines.


Once again the championship was decided in Kaiserslautern -- this time by a 1-1 draw on Matchday 33, with Andreas Ottl scoring for Bayern. In contrast to the year before the Reds could not celebrate their title on the spot. In the light of their imminent relegation the hosts at the *Betzenberg*had forbidden a hearty celebration, the Reds had to make do with water buckets for their 20th championship. FCB finished five points clear of runners-up Werder Bremen. As in the previous year, Felix Magath's team won the DFB Cup too. It was the first time ever for a team to clinch the double twice in a row. It was the 21st trophy won by Bixente Lizarazu and the crowning glory at the end of his career.

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