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Bayern Crowned German Champions

Bayern Munich claimed their 19th German championship on Saturday with a 4-0 drubbing of Kaiserslautern. Congratulations flooded in from all over Germany.

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Bayern Munich never seem to get bored with celebrating success

Bayern Munich clinched their 19th German championship title with Dutch international marksman Roy Makaay scoring a hat-trick in a comfortable 4-0 win at Kaiserslautern on Saturday.

With three games remaining, Bayern are 11 points clear after second-placed Schalke drew 3-3 with 10-man Bayer Leverkusen, allowing Munich to celebrate a fifth title in seven seasons.

German international captain Michael Ballack, who won the 1998 title in Kaiserslautern's colors, struck a 19th minute opener against his former club to ease Bayern's nerves. Ballack picked up a pass from Makaay before producing a lethal turn and shot to break the deadlock.

"We proved today that we are the best team in Germany and deserve to win the title," said Ballack.

Fußball-Bundesliga Bayern München Deutscher Meister 2005

Bayern Munich's headcoach Felix Magath is showered with beer as he and his team celebrate the win of the German Championship

Makaay then stole the show netting a sensational hat-trick to take his season's tally to 15 and more importantly clinch another Bundesliga crown for Bayern. "I came to Bayern last season to win the title but it did not happen," said Makaay. "Now I have achieved my goal and scoring three goals is the icing on the cake."

Bosnian international Hasan Salihamidzic heaped praise on his boss for stamping his authority on the team after Ottmar Hitzfeld had lost his magic touch. "Last season under Hitzfeld we were pretty bad, but Magath came along and changed that," enthused Salihamidzic. "He had a different approach and must now keep us on the right track."

For Felix Magath it is a first Bundesliga title in his managerial career and he has the chance to do a league and cup double in his debut season with Schalke facing Bayern in the cup final in Berlin on May 28. "I am delighted to win the title with Bayern," said Magath.

"We were constantly informed about the Schalke result and when it finished 3-3 we were elated to have won the Bundesliga title."

"You cannot be fully accepted at a club like Bayern unless you win some silverware," admitted Magath. "It has taken me ten years but now I have won the title and I hope to win a lot more."

Gerhard Schöder und Leszek Miller bei Schalke 04

Gerhard Schröder, a Schalke fan, offered his congratulations

German chancellor and Schalke 04 fan Gerhard Schröder offered his congratulations to Bayern after the 4-0 win at Kaiserslautern. "Bayern deserve to be German champions and I offer my congratulations to the team, manager and the fans," said Schröder. "When it counted Bayern were the most consistent team and I wish the club all the best for next season in their new stadium."

The German press heaped praise on coach Magath after the title was secured. "Felix Magath -- welcome to the club of great managers," the headline ran in the mass-circulation daily Bild. "Compared to Lattek and Hitzfeld, you have work to do. But make no mistake, the Magath era has now begun." Udo Lattek won six domestic titles with Bayern while Ottmar Hitzfeld, Magath's predecessor, won four Bundesliga crowns.

"Magath now accepted after title win," declared the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung while Die Welt exclaimed: "Teetotaler Magath can now enjoy a beer."

Fußball-Bundesliga FC Schalke 04 gegen Bayer Leverkusen

Schalke, who have been title contenders for most of the season but must now concentrate on securing second place and an automatic Champions League spot after surrendering a 3-1 lead against Leverkusen, were gracious in conceding the championship.

"Congratulations to Bayern on a 19th title," acknowledged Schalke general manager Rudi Assauer. "It is getting a bit boring them winning all the time so we will try to change that next season."

Paul Freier put Leverkusen ahead against Schalke on 23 minutes but a crazy first period saw the hosts score three goals in 11 minutes. Brazilian Lincoln equalized on the half-hour mark and then shot Schalke in front eight minutes later with his second goal of the game. Ebbe Sand made it 3-1 in the 41st minute but Leverkusen stormed back to take a point.

"When you lead 3-1 the game should be wrapped up," explained Schalke manager Ralf Rangnick. "It was a great game but I am more concerned about the two lost points."

Bulgarian international Dimitar Berbatov reduced the deficit in the 56th minute and Andrei Voronin equalized in the 64th minute as Schalke collapsed. Bayer had Roque Junior sent off late on, but Schalke could not make their numerical advantage count.

Matthias Sammer

VfB Stuttgart's coach Matthias Sammer was not a happy man on Saturday

Schalke are two points clear of VfB Stuttgart after Matthias Sammer's side fell to a 2-0 reverse at Borussia Monchengladbach. Portuguese international Fernando Meira was sent off in the 48th minute receiving a caution for a late tackle and then another booking for throwing the ball away in annoyance. "Our performance today was just rubbish," raged Sammer. "I think it is best if I do not talk about Meira's sending off."

The win was vital for Gladbach who move five points clear of the relegation zone with third from bottom VfL Bochum tasting a 6-2 home defeat at the hands of Mainz 05.

Fußball-Bundesliga, Hansa Rostock gegen Hertha BSC Berlin

Rostock's Marcus Lantz, left, and Berlin's Marcelinho, right, react during Rostock's 2-1 win.

Hertha Berlin have been the form team in Germany of late but with the stakes at their highest the capital side slumped to a 2-1 reverse at lowly Hansa Rostock. Hertha stay two points behind Stuttgart but are joined on 53 points by German champions Werder Bremen.

Bremen crushed Arminia Bielefeld 3-0 to stay in the hunt for a Champions League spot and manager Thomas Schaaf must think his luck is in with Schalke, Hertha and Stuttgart all losing crucial points.

SV Hamburg also lost ground on Bremen falling to a 1-0 defeat at VfL Wolfsburg and have just three matches to avoid playing in the much-maligned Intertoto Cup next season.

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