Berlin: Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich will lift the Bundesliga trophy for an historic fourth consecutive time on Saturday — with their rivals predicting they will get even stronger next season under Carlo Ancelotti.
Bayern’s home match against Hanover 96, who are already relegated, will be Guardiola’s last at the Allianz Arena before he takes over at Manchester City next season.
It promises to be a festive occasion in Munich and Guardiola will be a prime candidate for the traditional ‘beer shower’ when the Bayern squad are presented with over-sized glasses of beer to start the party after the final whistle.
Under Guardiola, Bayern have dominated Germany’s top flight over the last three seasons by starving their opponents of possession.
His successor Ancelotti will inherit a star-studded squad which will be further boosted by new signings Germany defender Mats Hummels and 18-year-old Benfica midfielder Renato Sanches.
Bayern splashed out a reported 73 million euros ($83 million) to sign the pair on Tuesday from Borussia Dortmund and Benfica respectively as they sent out a clear statement to their rivals both in Germany and across Europe.
“One should never be resigned, but it’s clear that with their new signings and with the team they already have, Bayern have taken a few more steps ahead of all the teams in the Bundesliga,” said Wolfsburg’s Germany winger Andre Schuerrle.
Another victory over Hanover will give Bayern 28 wins from their 34 games this season.
Guardiola has won 81 of his 101 top-flight fixtures in Germany giving him the highest winning percentage of any coach to have worked in the Bundesliga.
– Vidal’s fifth straight title -Midfielder Arturo Vidal will win his fifth consecutive league title after four with Juventus and now one with Bayern.
Meanwhile, it could well be Mario Goetze’s final home game having been told by Ancelotti to seek a transfer out of Munich, according to reports.
Relegated Hanover last beat Bayern in the Bundesliga four years ago and this will be their last chance for at least another season.
Some 7,000 Hanover fans are expected to travel to Munich for the game despite their fate having been sealed.
“We’ll try to take something from Munich,” said Hanover coach Daniel Stendel, whose side will be without injured Japan internationals Hiroshi Kiyotake and Hiroki Sakai.
Their Germany goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler has already said he will leave at the end of the season.
Hummels will play his final home game for runners-up Dortmund when they host Cologne.
The Germany centre-back was booed during their previous home match and he can expect more of the same at Signal Iduna Park.
Dortmund have already started spending the reported 38 million euros they will receive for Hummels by signing France’s young player of the year Ousmane Dembele from Rennes on Thursday.
The 18-year-old is reported to cost 15 million euros and Liverpool were also chasing his signature.
Dortmund will finish as the best ever second-placed side regardless of whether they add to their 77 points.
– Big names in danger -One of three big-name clubs will be relegated on Saturday night with Werder Bremen, Eintracht Frankfurt and VfB Stuttgart battling to avoid joining Hanover in the second tier.
Three points separate the three with Stuttgart, the 2007 champions, currently in the relegation zone.
Werder, the 2004 champions, are two points above them in the relegation play-off position and entertain Frankfurt, who are another point better off.
Stuttgart, who have an inferior goal difference to the two sides above them, have not won in eight but must win at Wolfsburg to stand any chance.
However, the best they can hope for is climbing into 16th and setting up a two-legged play-off against Nuremberg, who will finish third in the second tier.
Bremen know a win will keep them up but Frankfurt, who have won their last three games, need just a point to avoid the drop.
Saturday (all times 1330 GMT)
Bayern Munich v Hanover 96, Borussia Dortmund v Cologne, Bayer Leverkusen v Ingolstadt, VfL Wolfsburg V VfB Stuttgart, Augsburg V Hamburg, Werder Bremen v Eintracht Frankfurt, Hoffenheim v Schalke 04, Mainz v Hertha Berlin, Darmstadt v Borussia Moenchengladbach.