TITLE IN SIGHT

Bayern within reach of title with victory over Leverkusen

Fabian Klos’s powerful 50th-minute strike sealed the fate of Schalke, who have managed only two wins in the entire season.

In Summary

• Bayern have endured a turbulent seven days following their Champions League quarter-final exit to Paris St Germain and coach Hansi Flick stating his desire to leave the champions at the end of the season despite being under contract until 2023.

• Meanwhile, Schalke 04 were relegated from the Bundesliga for the first time in 33 years after losing 1-0 to fellow strugglers Arminia Bielefeld to stay in last place, 13 points off the relegation playoff spot with only four matches remaining.

Bayern Munich's Leroy Sane in action with Bayer Leverkusen's Wendell
Bayern Munich's Leroy Sane in action with Bayer Leverkusen's Wendell
Image: /REUTERS

Bayern Munich eased to a 2-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday with two early goals to open up a 10-point gap at the top of the Bundesliga as they moved to within one win of securing a record-extending ninth straight league crown.

Bayern have endured a turbulent seven days following their Champions League quarter-final exit to Paris St Germain and coach Hansi Flick stating his desire to leave the champions at the end of the season despite being under contract until 2023.

Yet it did not take long for the hosts to score and forward Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting, replacing the injured Robert Lewandowski, netted for the third straight game as he volleyed in to give Bayern the lead in the seventh minute.

Joshua Kimmich doubled their advantage six minutes later, firing in following a bad Leverkusen clearance before they took their foot off the gas. Leverkusen hit the crossbar late in the game but the result all but kills off any lingering hopes of a top-four finish for them. Leverkusen are on 47 points in sixth place.

Meanwhile, Schalke 04 were relegated from the Bundesliga for the first time in 33 years after losing 1-0 to fellow strugglers Arminia Bielefeld to stay in last place, 13 points off the relegation playoff spot with only four matches remaining.

Fabian Klos’s powerful 50th-minute strike sealed the fate of Schalke, who have managed only two wins in the entire season. It was another lacklustre performance from Schalke who never really threatened.

The visitors were left with 10 men when Malick Thiaw was sent off for a second booking in the 71st minute and keeper Ralf Faehrmann had to save a penalty in the 80th. On the final whistle Schalke players were left crying, swearing or just looking on in complete shock.

“This is a very bitter hour for all Schalke supporters,” said Schalke coach Dimitrios Grammozis, who took over last month. “We are brutally disappointed that we now know for certain that we have to go to the second division. Despite this disappointment we have to look ahead and field a team that will make our fans proud once more.”

Having gone through five coaches in the current campaign, Schalke have conceded 76 goals, more than any other team in an entire season since 2000. Earlier in the season they narrowly missed equalling the worst run in Bundesliga history by a game, having gone 30 consecutive league matches without a win.

The Royal Blues, among the most fiercely supported clubs in Germany with a usual average attendance of over 60,000 per game, were relegated three times in the 1980s — the last time in 1988.

Overall it was their fourth relegation. They enjoyed more success in the following decades, winning the UEFA Cup in 1997 and reaching the Champions League semi-finals in 2011.

The seven-time champions have never won the Bundesliga since the introduction of the top division in 1963 with their last German league title dating back to 1958.