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Jun 1, 2013

Bayern completes treble with cup win

Bayern Munich completed an historic treble by defeating Stuttgart 3-2 on Saturday to add the DFB-Pokal trophy to the Champions League and Bundesliga titles it has already won this season.

Thomas Muller fired Bayern in front from the penalty spot and two goals from Mario Gomez gave Jupp Heynckes' side a commanding lead.

Two goals from Martin Harnik made the game interesting, but Stuttgart could not find an equalizer as Bayern became the first German side to win three major trophies in a single season.

In his last game as coach before handing the reins to Pep Guardiola, Heynckes sealed Bayern's best ever season, one week after Heynckes delivered the Champions League trophy by beating Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in London, and eight after he masterminded the fastest Bundesliga title in 50 years of the league.

"When you break nearly every record in the league, and in the manner we played football, then of course it's something quite extraordinary. The Champions League is the crowning achievement and now there's the German Cup," said Heynckes, who had previously only won the trophy once, as a player with hometown club Borussia Moenchengladbach in 1973.

"It's an emotional moment," Heynckes said. "The team gave themselves and me a super present. The treble is unique."

No other German side had won the treble of domestic league, cup and European Cup, while Bayern became just the seventh overall to achieve the feat, after Celtic in 1967, Ajax in 1972, PSV Eindhoven in 1988, Manchester United in 1999, Guardiola's Barcelona in 2009, and Inter Milan in 2010.

"This will be hard to top," Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said.

In his second season at Bayern, Heynckes finishes his third stint having delivered the club's record 16th German Cup, a 23rd German championship title achieved by smashing a host of records and -- most importantly -- its fifth European Cup.

"He's done very well. He's a good person too. He's 68 but he's young. He has a lot of fun and that's important," Bayern winger Franck Ribery said.

Heynckes remained tight-lipped on his future plans, saying only that he will reveal "whether I continue (at another club) or not" at a news conference in Munich on Tuesday. He has previously dropped strong hints that he'll retire but has been linked by Spanish media to the vacant position at Real Madrid, where he won the Champions League in 1998.

Only three minutes into the cup final, Arjen Robben was put through left of goal by Javi Martinez and his cross was deflected just wide of the far post.

Stuttgart was not going to be lambs to the slaughter, though, and showed that with its own spirited attacking football which culminated in Antonio Rudiger's cross being volleyed just inches wide of the far post by Alexandru Maxim with Neuer beaten.

Neuer was in the thick of the action midway through the first half when he first made a reaction save to deny Vedad Ibisevic, and then scampered across his goal to block Georg Niedermeier's shot on the goal line.

In a game which swung from end to end, the next chance fell Bayern's way with David Alaba sent through by Muller, but Sven Ulreich made a save with his leg.

Robben had a goalbound volley blocked by Serdar Tasci, who moments earlier had been lucky to get away with a kick at the Dutchman inside the penalty area.

The referee waved play on that time but gave a generous penalty in the 36th minute when Philipp Lahm went to ground under pressure from Ibrahima Traore.

Muller stepped up and outwitted Ulreich, sending the ball to the Stuttgart goalkeeper's right after he had already leapt in the other direction.

Bayern doubled its lead almost immediately in the second half with Lahm's cross an open invitation to Gomez, who somehow managed to bundle the ball in despite hitting it against his standing leg.

The game appeared to be over after an hour when Muller this time set up former Stuttgart striker Gomez with a cross from the right, and he provided a more accomplished finish from seven yards out.

Stuttgart refused to lie down, though, and Harnik reduced the deficit 10 minutes later with a bullet header beyond Neuer's reach from Gotoku Sakai's cross.

Shinji Okazaki had a shot saved by Neuer as Stuttgart surged forward, getting a second goal with 10 minutes remaining when Okazaki hit the post and Harnik scored at the second time of asking, thanks in part to a slight deflection off Bastian Schweinsteiger, who matched former Bayern and Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn's record of six German Cup final victories.

Ulreich scampered forward for a free kick in stoppage time, but the Swabians were unable to find an equalizer as they, like the rest of the Bundesliga and Europe before them, took their hats off to an all-conquering Bayern side.

"It doesn't get any better," said Bayern great Franz Beckenbauer. "The Stuttgarters made it exciting for us. But when you look at the 90 minutes, the win was deserved. No other team managed to win all the titles before. This is the best Bayern team ever. I can't remember a season that went any better. This is the absolute highlight."

Information from Press Association and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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