Bayern Munich rolls past Hertha Berlin to clinch Bundesliga title

BERLIN (AP) — Bayern Munich defeated Hertha Berlin 3-1 to become the earliest Bundesliga champion in 51 years of the league on Tuesday, when the defending champion claimed its 24th German title.

Toni Kroos scored in the sixth minute and Mario Goetze added a rare header in the 14th.

Adrian Ramos pulled one back from the penalty spot in the 66th, but Bayern substitute Franck Ribery settled the issue in the 79th.

The result ensures Pep Guardiola’s side wraps up the title with seven games to spare in the Spaniard’s first season as coach, beating the mark set in last year’s record-breaking campaign by one game.

It was also Bayern’s 19th consecutive win, its 10th consecutive victory away from home, and it stretched its unbeaten run to 52 games. All are Bundesliga records.

Second-place Borussia Dortmund failed to overcome Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann and had to settle for a 0-0 draw in the Ruhr derby despite dominating. Dortmund remains one point ahead of Schalke and slips 25 behind Bayern, the first side to win the Bundesliga in March.

Bayern finished 25 points ahead of Dortmund last season and is even more dominant this campaign. Of 27 games so far this season, Bayern has won 25 and drawn the other two. It has also scored more goals (79) and conceded fewer (19) than any other side by a large margin.

Kroos opened the scoring with a half-volley through Hertha goalkeeper Thomas Kraft’s legs after Christoph Janker deflected Thomas Mueller’s cross into the unmarked midfielder’s path.

Poor defending from the home side allowed Goetze to score with a header from Bastian Schweinsteiger’s cross.

Mueller hit the crossbar in the 38th, and went very close again before the break, when his lob over former teammate Kraft went just wide of the post.

The intensity dropped in the second half until Guardiola introduced Ribery and Mario Mandzukic together in the 54th.

Mandzukic tested Kraft from a tight angle shortly afterward, before an apparent push from Rafinha on Ramos allowed the Colombian striker pull one back from the penalty spot.