BERLIN: Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich will try to heal their Champions League hurt with a win at Ingolstadt on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) which would confirm a record fourth straight German league title.
Atletico Madrid advanced to the Champions League final on away goals at Bayern’s expense on Tuesday despite losing the second leg of their semifinals 2-1 in Munich having triumphed 1-0 in Spain last week.
It was Bayern’s third consecutive Champions League exit at the semi-final stage.
With their dreams of winning the treble now gone, Bayern can still clinch the double as they also face Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup final in Berlin on May 21.
“We still have two major aims this season and I hope that we win the remaining three games and can celebrate the German title and the German Cup,” said Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski.
“We’re still not champions yet, though, but I hope we will be in Ingolstadt.”
With 27 league goals this season, Lewandowski is the league’s top scorer, two clear of nearest rival, Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Bayern have won the league in each of the last three seasons with games to spare, but the destination of this season’s title has not been decided so late in the season since 2009/10.
Bayern could have had the title confirmed last Saturday with a win over Borussia Moenchengladbach, but were held at home to a 1-1 draw.
Ingolstadt is 60 kilometers from Munich and the hosts, who are currently ninth, are relishing facing their illustrious neighbours in their last home game this season.
“I can imagine that a few fans only bought season tickets just so they could come to this game,” said Ingolstadt’s assistant coach Michael Henke.
“When you play an opponent like that, you only have a chance if you’re cheeky and brave.
“For our fans, and the last home game of the season, we’ll give it all we have.”
This will be Guardiola’s final away game in the Bundesliga before coaching Manchester City next season.
Ingolstadt’s defence has conceded just 37 goals this season — only Bayern, Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen have leaked fewer.
But a 21st clean sheet for Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer would give the Germany shot-stopper a new Bundesliga record.
Second-placed Borussia Dortmund are away to relegation-threatened Eintracht Frankfurt.
Frankfurt are 16th in the table, a point from safety with two games left, while Dortmund are the only side unbeaten in the top flight in 2016.
Dortmund have won all four of their matches since losing 4-3 to Liverpool in the Europa League quarter-finals—their only defeat this year.
Borussia have scored a league-high 80 goals this season, five more than Bayern, and are one short of the club record of 81, set in the 2012/13 season.
Hertha Berlin are winless in their last six games and have lost all of their last four as they prepare to host Darmstadt in their bid to climb back into the top four.
The slide has seen the Berliners drop from third to fifth.
They can finish no lower than seventh and are assured of a European place next season — at least the Europa League — for the first time since 2009.
Darmstadt are only two points from the relegation zone with big-name clubs Werder Bremen, Frankfurt and VfB Stuttgart all desperate to avoid the dreaded drop.
Just a point separates Bremen, who is safe in 15th, from Stuttgart, who are second from bottom in 17th with Frankfurt in 16th.
Bremen, who have won two of their last four games, are at mid-table Cologne, but only escaped the bottom three with a 6-2 thrashing of VfB Stuttgart on Monday.
Stuttgart, who has one win in their last ten games, is home to high-flying Mainz.