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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Football

Record-breakers Bayern relish 'German El Clasico'
AFP
Berlin, November 10, 2013
First Published: 17:00 IST(10/11/2013)
Last Updated: 17:02 IST(10/11/2013)

European champions Bayern Munich set a new Bundesliga record of 37 games without defeat, then turned their attentions on their showdown with main German league rivals Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern's 3-0 win at Munich's Allianz Arena against Bavarian neighbours Augsburg saw them break Hamburg's 30-year-old record of 36 games without loss set in January 1983.

"The record is unbelievable, it's not easy to go 37 games without defeat. Congratulations to the club," said Bayern coach Pep Guardiola, who took charge in June.

But goal-scorer Franck Ribery said their next league game, at second-placed Dortmund in a fortnight, is crucial after Borussia's 2-1 defeat at Wolfsburg left them trailing Bayern by four points.

It will be a repeat of last season's Champions League final, which Bayern president Uli Hoeness has dubbed "the German El Clasico".

"The next game against Borussia Dortmund is vital for us," said Ribery.

"It's a great chance to build a lead at the top and extend our record."

Guardiola also set a personal record as he celebrated his 12th league match without defeat - the best start by a new Bundesliga coach in the league's history with 32 points.

Germany centre-back Jerome Boateng opened the scoring when he headed home from a corner after just five minutes.

France winger Franck Ribery then smashed home a direct free-kick on 42 minutes before Germany's Thomas Mueller netted a penalty in the fifth minute of injury time.

Bayern have now won 31 of their last 37 Bundesliga matches.

This was their second milestone of the week after they equalled Barcelona's record from the 2002/03 season of nine consecutive Champions League wins with a 1-0 at Viktoria Pilsen.

The Bavarians equalled or set 25 league records under Guardiola's predecessor Jupp Heynckes last season.

Heynckes stood down in May, with his side unbeaten in their previous 25 league games, after Bayern won the treble of European, cup and Bundesliga titles last season.

"Congratulations to the club and a special shout-out to Jupp Heynckes, architect of last season's success," said Boateng.

"The record itself wasn't really a topic of discussion for us.

"Our focus was purely on the game and wanting to win, which we managed, and now we can celebrate the record on top of that."

Bayern also extended their lead as Dortmund crashed at Wolfsburg.

It was Dortmund's second defeat of the week after losing to 1-0 at home to Arsenal in the Champions League.

After Germany winger Marco Reus put Dortmund ahead with a thunderbolt of a free kick on the stroke of half-time, Wolves hit back to pick up their fourth straight victory to leave them fifth.

Swiss defender Ricardo Rodriguez smashed home a free kick before Croatia striker Ivica Olic hit a great goal in off the far post with 20 minutes left.

"We gave away too many free-kicks, which allowed the opposition some practive in taking them," lamented Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp, adding centre-back Neven Subotic has a suspected cruciate knee injury.

"Olic's goal was a dream. It should have been blocked, but that didn't happen. Neven Subotic's injury is terrible news.

"We tried everything, but in tight situations, everything went against us.

"We could have had penalties awarded in two different scenarios," added Klopp, after Poland striker Robert Lewandowski was fouled in the area late on.


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