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Bayern 4 Hertha Berlin 1

Champions crowned as Hitzfeld and Kahn bow out

Bayern set a new record for fewest goals conceded and Luca Toni finished as Bundesliga top scorer on a final day pulsating with emotion and jubilation.

For once, the goalmouth action was of secondary importance to the 69,000 full house at the Allianz Arena, as a series of farewells before kick-off brought the crowd to their feet in a string of standing ovations.

Chief among the men being wished adieu were Ottmar Hitzfeld, leaving the club coaching scene with an extraordinary 25 trophies to his name, and long-serving captain Oliver Kahn, ending a 20-year career at the highest level with 557 German top flight appearances behind him.

Fond farewells

But there was a heartfelt and warm reception too for other personalities leaving the club: goalkeeping legend Sepp Maier, Hitzfeld's loyal assistant Michael Hanke, third keeper Bernd Dreher, and striker Jan Schlaudraff.

There was even a presentation for the match official, as distinguished referee Dr Markus Merk also plied his trade on the elite footballing stage for the last time before retirement.

As to events on the pitch, Toni's first-half brace and a Franck Ribery strike put the champions firmly in charge at half-time, before the deadly Italian completed his hat-trick on the hour and sub Valeri Domovchiyski gave the scoreline a semblance of respectability from the visitors point of view towards the end.

Records tumble

Toni's three-goal haul took him to 24 for the season and the famour cannon-shaped trophy awarded to the league's leading marksman, while Bayern finished with just 21 goals against in 34 matches to beat Werder Bremen's previous record of 22 from 1987-8.

Hitzfeld's final Bayern team selection showed four changes to the side which beat Duisburg last week, with Lahm, Zé Roberto, Ribéry and Toni starting in place of Ottl, Sosa, Schlaudraff and the injured Willy Sagnol.

Nothing rested on the game in terms of league positions, but the visitors from Berlin were in with a decent shout of a UEFA Cup place via the continental fair play rankings – provided they did not over-sully their disciplinary record in Munich.

Luca in deadly form

The Hertha defence certainly looked like men keen to avoid any kind of physical contact when Toni rose unchallenged to head Ribery's cross past keeper Jaroslav Drobny with just three minutes played.

Lukas Podolski, Toni and Bastian Schweinstieger all came close as the men in red created the better of the chances, and Bayern's Italian marksman duly made it two with his head after 27 minutes when Schweinsteiger was given space to cross.

Hertha's Fabian Lustenberger finally committed his team's first foul after full half-an-hour, but the visitors were again left chasing shadows when Ribery half-hit his shot from the edge of the box on 33 minutes but still got enough behind it to net.

Imperious Reds

Further shots rained in from Podolski, Toni and Mark van Bommel before half-time, and from Ze Roberto and Podolski after the restart as the Bavarians drew appreciative applause with some exhibition stuff, before the league's leading scorer completed his hat-trick on the hour from Podolski's lay-off and banished any faint doubts he might not claim the leading scorer accolade this term.

With under twenty minutes remaining, Kahn finally had a chance to show off his skills with a save at the second attempt from Raffael, before Drobny pushed away another dangerous Toni header, and Berlin sub Domovchiyski rattled the home crossbar with the Bayern keeper beaten.

That escape only delayed Domovchiyski by a couple of minutes as the striker diverted the ball into the top right corner on 84 minutes, Kahn throwing out a hand but unable to maintain a clean sheet, before the colossus of the modern game came off with two minutes remaining, symbolically giving way to his designated successor Michael Rensing and bringing down the curtain on one of the great footballing careers of all time.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley