The Fussball Arena München erupted in pure ecstasy at 17.39CET on Saturday when Bundesliga president Reinhard Rauball handed FC Bayern München captain Philipp Lahm the championship shield. After three years without a title the wait was finally over and the celebrations kicked off in style, including the obligatory beer showers which coach Jupp Heynckes, despite his best efforts, was not able to escape.
After enthusiastic celebrations inside the stadium that followed Bayern's 3-0 defeat of neighbours FC Augsburg, their final home game of the Bundesliga season, the newly-crowned champions hopped on an open-top bus for a journey to Munich's city hall. Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Alaba and the trophy were nearly forgotten amid all the excitement and hubbub, but their last-second arrival meant no-one missed out.
A motorcade took the players through the fan-lined streets of Munich, while passing cars drove by at snail's pace, offering plenty of opportunities for supporters to hail their heroes. A crowd of 20,000 gathered in front of city hall, and cheered wildly as each player was called forward onto the balcony. For many of the squad this was their first title party, but they were well prepared. "I'd watched a lot of Bayern's previous championship celebrations on YouTube, so I knew what to expect," grinned striker Mario Mandžukić.
After Lahm walked out onto the balcony first with the Bundesliga shield under his arm, the inevitable 'We are the Champions' rang round the Marienplatz. Looking at some of the players' expressions, however, there was the sense that minds are already wandering towards Wembley and the UEFA Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund on 25 May. Then there is the German Cup final versus VfB Stuttgart on 1 June.
The festivities continued and a jubilant Heynckes took the microphone to address the fans: "I think that you've all witnessed a season unlike any other. We've not only won the championship, but set one record after another in doing so," said the Bayern boss, who added his squad would be allowed to savour their title success with the Wembley showcase two weeks away.
"No matter how the other two finals conclude, this team has achieved success of historic proportions and we can all be proud of them. I won't promise anything right now, but the team will do everything they can on the 25th in order to fulfil the dream that each of us shares."
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