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Five Aside
By ESPN Staff

Bayern on brink of 21st German title

BERLIN, May 1 (Reuters) - Bayern Munich will be crowned Bundesliga champions without kicking a ball on Saturday if Werder Bremen and Schalke 04 fail to win.

With four matches left Bayern have 66 points, 12 more than Bremen and Schalke.

Even if the two second-placed teams triumph, Bremen against Energie Cottbus and Schalke against Hanover 96, Bayern will need only a point from Sunday's match at VfL Wolfsburg to capture their 21st German championship.

'You can already congratulate us on the title,' manager Uli Hoeness told the club's website after Sunday's 4-1 victory over champions VfB Stuttgart.

'Nobody can knock us off the top.'

Bayern, who lifted the German Cup earlier this month, have lost only two league matches this season and have been top since the start.

Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld will have a full squad to choose from for Bayern's UEFA Cup semi-final second leg at Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday.

With the championship all but decided Bremen and Schalke are looking to cement their Champions League spots.

Bremen have a better goal difference and occupy the automatic qualification spot in second.

Bayer Leverkusen, Hamburg SV and Stuttgart, all on 48 points, still have a chance of securing a lucrative place in Europe's top club competition.

Bremen midfielder and Germany international Torsten Frings returned to full training this week after an ankle injury and Brazilian Diego should play on Saturday after shaking off a thigh problem.

Schalke had a scare when Kevin Kuranyi missed training this week with a sore leg but coach Mike Bueskens said he was sure the striker would be fit by the weekend.

Defender Christian Pander has an adductor muscle problem and looks set to miss out on Saturday and against VfL Bochum on Tuesday.