File photo of Claudio Pizzaro
Berlin: Bayern Munich humiliated Hamburg 9-2 thanks to four goals by Claudio Pizzaro to show why they are on the way to snatch their 23rd Bundesliga title. Meanwhile, Robert Lewandowskis' 20th goal of the season wrapped a 2-1 win for Dortmund over Stuttgart to deny Bayern the title ahead of schedule Saturday. Bayern are 20 points ahead with seven games to play and mathematically can still lose the title. But if Bayern win next week in Frankfurt, they will become the earliest champion in Bundesliga history, reports Xinhua.
With a Champions League quarter-final against Juventus looming on Tuesday, Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes rested several players but his team quickly seized control against a hapless Hamburg on a damp and cool evening. It was the biggest win in Bundesliga in 13 years and Bayern's biggest since 8-1 against Schalke in the 1987-88 season.
Hamburg had lost their last two games in Munich 0-5 and 0-6 and the latest trip quickly turned into another nightmare. Xherdan Shaquiri scored unchallenged in the fifth minute and Bayern got rolling. Shaqiri provided the cross for Bastian Schweinsteiger's goal (19th minute), Pizarro pounced on a corner from Arjen Robben (30th) and then set up Robben (33rd) before scoring again (45th).
Robben and Pizarro picked up where they left off after the break. Robben set up Pizarro, who slotted home with his heel (53rd). One minute later, Pizarro returned the favour, robbing Jeffrey Bruma and setting up Robben for an easy goal. Pizarro notched his fourth in the 68th. Normally Bayern's third-choice striker after Mario Mandzukic and Mario Gomez, Pizarro had not scored this season until Saturday.
Bruma headed in a corner (75th) but substitute Franck Ribery replied for Bayern one minute later. Hamburg's second also came after a corner from Rafael van der Vaart, with Heiko Westermann heading into the net.
Elsewhere, Borussia Dortmund delayed the surrender of their title by winning against 10-man Stuttgart. Lewandowski scored in his ninth consecutive game to seal Dortmund's victory after the home side lost Gregor Niedermeier to a red card in an ill-tempered match. Lewandowski's streak is third on the league's all-time list. Gerd Mueller scored in 16 straight games and Klaus Allofs in 10. Mueller also had a nine-game scoring streak.
Dortmund's victory strengthened their hold on second place. Bayer Leverkusen stayed third, four points behind, by beating Fortuna Duesseldorf 4-1 away. Hannover won 2-0 in Augsburg, Schalke beat Hoffenheim 3-0, Freiburg defeated Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-0 and Werder Bremen drew 1-1 in Mainz after conceding the fastest goal of the season 12 seconds into the match.