Bayern Munich hoping for historic treble

Bayern Munich hoping for historic treble
Schweinsteiger training up ahead of the game. Photo: DPA
Fresh from a memorable triumph over Manchester United in the Champions League, German giants Bayern Munich will aim to stretch their lead at the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday with only five games to go.

Louis van Gaal’s men play away at third-placed Bayer Leverkusen and, despite beating United over two legs and domestic rivals Schalke, are taking nothing for granted in their pursuit of a 22nd league title and a historic treble.

“We are leading the German championship, we’re in the final of the German cup and in the semi-final of the Champions League but we haven’t won anything yet,” said Bayern captain Mark van Bommel. “There’s no room for dreaming. We can’t afford even the slightest slip-up in the Bundesliga,” added van Bommel, with Schalke hot on Bayern’s heels, only one point behind the Bavarian club.

“If we want to become champions and keep Schalke at bay, then we have to win at Leverkusen.”

After a season plagued by injury to his two top stars, French midfielder Franck Ribery and Dutch winger Arjen Robben, van Gaal has the luxury of having a full squad to choose from as the season nears its climax.

The top contenders have a remarkably similar run-in, with both teams playing Hannover, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Hertha Berlin, the Bundesliga’s bottom club.

The last day of the season sees Bayern travel to Berlin’s Olympic Stadium to face a Hertha side possibly fighting for their Bundesliga lives, while Schalke also play away, but at mid-table Mainz, who will have very little to play for.

This weekend, Schalke have a clash against relegation-threatened Hannover, who have won only two games since November.

For their part, Leverkusen are pushing for third place and a spot in next year’s Champions League.

Jupp Heynckes’ team were the early pace-setters in this season’s Bundesliga, going the first 24 games unbeaten but have since slipped back and find themselves now with only a one-point cushion over Borussia Dortmund in fourth.

“I am convinced we will finish third and the title will only be decided on the last day,” said Heynckes.

At the other end of the table, the capital’s only top-flight club, the hapless Hertha Berlin, will hope to continue a rare run of good form as they aim for a great escape from relegation that seemed impossible a few weeks ago.

Still six points from safety and seeking their first home win since August, they take on seventh-placed Stuttgart.

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