Munich - The beer kegs were tapped, the team were clad in Lederhosen and, having signed off with a last-gasp 1-0 win over VfB Stuttgart, it was time for Bundesliga champions FC Bayern München to revel in their record-breaking 24th national title.
Ending on a high note
With the result proving little more than a side note to their epic city-wide celebrations, even thoughts of next weekend's DFB Cup final against Borussia Dortmund did little to detract from the evening’s events. “You have to enjoy it, you have to celebrate,” said Arjen Robben. “If we have a really good party tonight, it’ll make us stronger next Saturday.”
Relying on Claudio Pizarro grabbing a 92nd minute winner with the last kick of a tense encounter may not have been how Bayern imagined capping off the 2013/14 campaign. The Bavarians dominated possession but struggled to get behind an organised and highly-motivated Stuttgart side, seeking to break through via the flanks, whipping in 18 crosses and 12 corners over the 90 minutes.
"It was a strange game," admitted Robben. “You want to enjoy the celebrations and everything. I think we just needed a little bit more luck to score earlier rather than at the last second.” Despite the result having no bearing on the Bundesliga standings, head coach Pep Guardiola still had words of praise for his side following the victory: “We grabbed our goal really late in the game, but overall I’m just incredibly proud of my side and proud of what we’ve achieved this season.”
Party time for Pep and Co.
Naturally, the 90 minutes only served as a prelude to the post-match celebrations with Guardiola, the Bundesliga’s first-ever Spanish head coach, receiving the customary beer shower having seen his side lift the coveted Meisterschale. “The beer was cold and burns your eyes. It’s all okay now that I’ve had a proper shower,” said the 43-year-old, who was even caught on camera dropping the Bundesliga plate. “It’s a very, very nice trophy, but it’s also very heavy.”
It was a day of firsts for Guardiola, who, standing on the balcony of Munich’s town hall later that evening, allowed himself a moment to reflect on his debut campaign with the record titleholders. “I want to thank FC Bayern for giving me the opportunity to be here,” said the Catalan native in front of roughly 20,000 adoring supporters. “For the Catalan that I am, the first time is special. I’m proud of this team and very, very proud of you [fans]. I love you, I am a Münchner. Mia san mia!“
Capital city concerns?
However, there is still the small matter of a DFB Cup final left to take care of and, true to form, Guardiola wasn’t going to let his focus slip for too long, especially in light of injuries to top goalscorer Mario Mandzukic and Bastian Schweinsteiger, who were both forced off before the final whistle. “Bastian is laboring under the effects of a minor patella tendon problem, but we’ve got six days until the cup final for him to recover. If we play with the same passion as we did in the second half today, we can get past Dortmund.”
Bayern and their fans will be the first to admit that the victory over Stuttgart wasn’t their most spell-binding performance on the season, but having lifted one title there’s no doubting that, once the dust settles on their celebrations, all eyes will be on completing the double. “It's always great to receive the title,” said captain Philipp Lahm. “We've won one and now we want to clinch a second. It's been a good season, but it will be a really good one if we can bring home the DFB Cup.”
Check out Guardiola's fumble with the Meisterschale on the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: