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Culture

Werder Bremen Clinch German Championship

The northern German city's football team take the title after a sensational 3-1 win over Bayer Munich on Saturday.

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Bremen's players celebrate their upset defeat over FC Bayern Munchen

Werder Bremen lifted their first German championship in 11 years with a sensational 3-1 win over reigning champions Bayern Munich at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.

Bremen move nine points ahead of holders Bayern, who suffered their first home defeat of the season, with two games left to play.

It is Bremen's fourth championship win in all following their
triumphs in 1965, 1988 and 1993 and will taste all the sweeter as it was clinched on Bayern's own patch.

"I think it is sensational what this team has achieved," said a jubilant Bremen manager Thomas Schaaf. "The fact that Uli Hoeness (Bayern general manager) congratulated us shows there is a mutual respect."

Bremen now have the chance of a league and cup double if they can defeat Second Division outfit Alemannia Aachen in the German Cup final on May 26 in Berlin.

A first-half goal blitz did the damage for Bremen with Croat
Ivan Klasnic, Frenchman Johan Micoud and Brazilian Ailton scoring inside 35 minutes.

When the title contenders were being discussed in pre-season, Bayern, Borussia Dortmund and VfB Stuttgart came to the fore, but not many pundits would have wagered on a team eliminated in the Intertoto Cup by Austrian minnows SV Pasching.

However, Bremen have gone 23 games unbeaten to defy the odds and topple Bayern - who they finished 23 points behind last season - with some adventurous football this term.

"Sometimes you have lows in football," said Bayern chief Ottmar Hitzfeld."It cannot just be running around celebrating all the time.

"I have congratulated Thomas Schaaf as Bremen played the best football this season."

Schaaf claimed Bremen would attack from the first whistle in Bavaria and he was good to his word as the visitors swamped Bayern in the opening exchanges.

Bayern captain and goalkeeper Oliver Kahn insisted Bremen were feeling the pressure before the match but those words came back to haunt him on 19 minutes with a calamitous error.

Brazilian Ailton fed strike partner Ivan Klasnic but Kahn seemed to have the situation in hand reaching the ball first before inexplicably fumbling, allowing Croat Klasnic to slot home into an empty net.

"It is ironic that Kahn - one of our best players this season - made the mistake," pointed out Hitzfeld.

It has been a difficult time for the 34-year-old international
keeper, who conceded five goals in Germany's 5-1 thrashing by Romania in Bucharest, and things did not improve.

French international Johan Micoud lobbed him magnificently seven minutes later to make it 2-0.

"We dedicate this title to our fantastic fans," added Micoud.

Then in the 35th minute Ailton notched his 27th goal of a
productive campaign, curling a 25-yard shot into the top corner past the despairing Kahn.

The travelling contingent of Bremen supporters were in a state of delirium.

Dutch international Roy Makaay reduced the arrears on 56 minutes after Bremen switched off but it was just a momentary lapse as Bremen held their nerve and dethroned Bayern as German champions.

The only consolation for Bayern, who have ended the season empty-handed, was that third-placed Stuttgart did not take advantage of their slip-up tasting a 2-1 defeat at SV Hamburg.

Felix Magath's side will be kicking themselves as they could
have moved to within one point of Munich with victory.

Borussia Dortmund's chances of playing European football in 2004/05 suffered a blow following a surprise 6-2 thumping by struggling Hertha Berlin in the capital.

Champions just two seasons ago, Dortmund remain fifth but VfL Bochum can leapfrog them into the final UEFA Cup spot with a draw against SC Freiburg on Sunday.

  • Date 09.05.2004
  • Author AFP
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  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/51CE
  • Date 09.05.2004
  • Author AFP
  • Print Print this page
  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/51CE