Bayern Munich were crowned Bundesliga champions for the first time since 2009/10 after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over 5th placed Eintracht Frankfurt in the Commerzbank Arena.
The Bavarians romp to the title has been well documented from their opening day away success at relegation-bound Fuerth to last week's 9-2 demolition of Hamburg. The Reds won their first eight games of the domestic season and sealed an eleventh straight win after the winter break in Frankfurt, Germany's financial hot-bed.
I won't take the liberty of blinding you with all the records this all-conquering Bayern side are set to shatter but the win in Hessen sealed the title at the earliest ever juncture - with six games still remaining. FCB are now just two wins short of Borussia Dortmund's record of 81 points, set last May, for the most points in a campaign.
The record Bundesliga champions sealed a 22nd Bundesliga title, their first for three years, last achieved by that fiery Dutch coach Louis van Gaal. Not quite an Arsenal-like drought, but for a club of Bayern's stature it was high time that the trophy cabinet was given a proper dusting off.
A Frankfurt side chasing a European qualification spot might have presumed they would take on a much weaker visiting line-up. Treble-seeking coach Jupp Heynckes, returning to his old stomping ground in Hessen, chose to only rest key men Franck Ribery and Mario Mandzukic ahead of the Champions League return leg in Turin against Juventus. Fit-again Mario Gomez got the nod ahead of four-goal hero against Hamburger Claudio Pizarro for the main striker's role and was supported by fit-for-a-change Arjen Robben and the rangy Thomas Müller. Spanish EUR40 million signing Javier Martínez, who was suspended for the European match in midweek, slotted into midfield with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Xherdan Shaqiri, who started off the recent rout of HSV with a fine opening strike.
The talented Swiss Shaqiri went closest to breaking the deadlock with a cracking left footed strike that hit the post on nine minutes with Frankfurt keeper Oka Nikolov well beaten. Fussy Florian Meyer managed to upset both sets of supporters in the 51,500 capacity crowd with his whistle-happy 'decision' making. On 26 minutes, Müller went down in instalments in the box after minimal contact with Eintracht's Marco Russ. Meyer adjudged it worthy of a spot kick. Perhaps some justice was done, at least for this neutral observer, as the Austrian Alaba failed to convert, rebounding off the right hand post and out of play.
Meyer soon followed up with a yellow card for ex-1860 Munich star Stefan Aigner for a foul on Jerome Boateng as tempers started to get a little frayed. Gomez also went down in a heap in the business area late in the first half but penalty appeals this time fell on deaf ears. News that reigning champions Borussia Dortmund were losing 2-1 at half time to relegation-haunted Augsburg had filtered to Frankfurt which meant that Bayern would be champions with only a draw in Germany's finance capital. But Bayern decided to take their destiny into their own hands, coming out in the second period with far more purpose and verve.
A delightful back heel from the rejuvenated Bastian Schweinsteiger put the Bavarians ahead on 52 minutes. It was a goal worthy of champions and it proved to be both the match and title winner. Dortmund's turnaround (finishing 4-2 in their favour) meant that Bayern would need to hold onto their lead to secure the title today. The home side, roared on by their passionate following, hustled throughout whilst a minority of the visiting supporters were seemingly more intent in pyrotechnics than following the champions in waiting.
Injured top scorer Alexander Meier was a bad loss for Frankfurt who were lively on the break with Takashi Inui looking the likeliest to salvage something for the 'Eagles'. Frankfurt threw everything at the record German champions in a barnstorming finish. On 78 minutes the Reds were indebted to a great sprawling save from Manuel Neuer to preserve today's title bid. Aigner fed substitute Srdjan Lakic but Neuer reacted brilliantly to deny the Croatian to gasps of astonishment from the home crowd. Meyer turned down appeals for a handball by Brazilian Dante in the box, whilst Inui fired narrowly wide as the hosts pressed desperately for an equaliser.
Bayern held on to a victory to become 2012-13 Bundesliga champions. One trophy in the bag. Two to go. Well played.
Eintracht Frankfurt: Nikolov - Jung, Zambrano, Anderson, Oczipka - Russ (71' Stendera), Rode - Aigner, Lanig (30' Celozzi), Inui - Matmour (75' Lakic)
FC Bayern Munich: Neuer - Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba - Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez - Robben (63' Ribery), Mueller (63' Gustavo), Shaqiri - Gomez (75' Pizarro)
Goals: 0-1 Schweinsteiger (52')
Attendance: 51, 500
Referee: Florian Meyer