Emphatically crossing the T in Treble

Posted by Susie Schaaf

Celtic '67. 'Ajax Amsterdam '72. PSV Eindhoven '88. Manchester United '99. Barcelona '09. Inter Milan '10.

Bayern Munich '13.

It's a small, superlative group. With their 3-2 victory over VfB Stuttgart on Saturday in Berlin, Bayern Munich finally becomes the first German club to win a treble, securing their place in the books as the greatest Bundesliga side in the league's 50-year history.

-Bayern clinch 1st German treble - Replay

It's striking when you look at 1999 and 2010: Bayern could potentially be looking at their third triple victory. In Barcelona, at Nou Camp, red-and-white Bayern Munich ribbons had already been secured on the trophy before Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored in extra time, breaking the hearts of Munich fans around the world.

"Football, bloody hell," in the immortal words of Sir Alex Ferguson.

At Estadio Bernebau, in 2010, Bayern missed Franck Ribery desperately, the Frenchman having secured a three-match ban in the opening leg of the semifinal against Lyon. Inter was therefore allowed to double cover Arjen Robben over 90 minutes, with Diego Milito scoring a brace against a weakened Munich side.

But this season was different, special somehow. One could feel it in the air. From securing the Bundesliga title in record time, through the Pokal semifinal win over Borussia Dortmund, to Bayern's win over the same in last week's astounding Champions League final; this 2013 incarnation of Bayern is... is... well, perhaps, just IS.

A first-half penalty by Thomas Mueller and a second-half brace by Mario Gomez secured the third of three season trophies for Munich's storied club. And although Martin Harnik pulled two back for VfB, it wouldn't be enough to dampen destiny.

The Pokal final match opened similarly to the Champions League final; Bayern perhaps nervous and a bit off their game. And although Bruno Labbadia's men were unable to mirror Dortmund's relentless pressing game, they were still afforded opportunities on the break.

Bayern Munich is lucky to call keeper Manuel Neuer their own as he was called upon often in the first half; getting out of the box for a clearance just seven minutes in, saving after a Christian Gentner chip, and heroically performing a double save on 21 minutes.

Harnik's shot took a deflection off Bastian Schweinsteiger which Neuer could only push out, the rebound falling to Georg Niedermeier -- his shot saved magically at the post.

But, as in London, one could feel the screws start to turn after 25 minutes, and Bayern had the better run of play leading up to the half. David Alaba had two one-on-one situations with VfB keeper Sven Ulreich in quick succession. But despite Ulerich's astute tending, Bayern would not be denied after Ibrahima Traore brought down Philipp Lahm in the box.

The tallest referee in the world, Manuel Graefe, immediately pointed to the spot and Mueller stepped up, sending Ulreich the wrong way, and giving Bayern a realistic taste of the treble.

The second half opened brightly for Munich. Gomez -- thought to be a sympathetic inclusion in the Startelf by commentators -- proved his worth against his former club, scoring twice. Robben released Lahm, and Bayern's captain crossed to a waiting Gomez; Mario bundling past Ulreich.

Gomez's second came after Lahm broke down the sideline, passing to Mueller, who squared for the want-away striker.

Jupp Heynckes subbed Gomez off to a standing ovation for his first choice up top in Mario Mandzukic. Mandzukic repaid the inclusion by nearly scoring a first-touch goal, but also had two pushes on Stuttgarters, the second earning a yellow card in extra time.

Labbadia's men were not finished, though. Harnik opened the scoring for the other die Roten with a well-headed effort after a free kick. Nearly 10 minutes later, he secured his brace as Shinji Okazaki's effort hit the post; the rebound falling to Harnik while the Bayern defense was caught ball-watching.

Four agonizingly long minutes of extra time later, the whistle blew. And Bayern Munich's season was scribbled in the record books. Tears in the eyes of Uli Hoeness, Heynckes and many players. Stoicism in Gomez. Deutsche Telekom trikots replaced the "T-dot-dot-dot" with "Triple".

Holger Badstuber, Luis Gustavo, and Dante's kits were held up or worn. A splash of gold confetti. And the party begins. Da ist das Ding!

This is the end for Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, likely for Gomez and Hoeness, and certainly a Bayern end for Heynckes. He's got a press conference scheduled Tuesday to tell of his future plans, but I'd punt he'll retire to his farm outside Moenchengladbach -- spending quality time with his wife, Iris, and beast of a dog, Cando.

I remarked at halftime on Twitter that Juergen Klinsmann got Bayern fit, Louis van Gaal set the tactics, but Heynckes brought it all together.

And now, at the end of it all, where does Heynckes go from here? Back to a club, in Real Madrid, that fired him after securing them a Champions League trophy? I think not. He now has nothing left to prove. While he has always been a legend as a player, this season he has solidified his place as a legendary coach. And just a legend. Period.

Jupp Heynckes. Deutscher Fussball Gott.

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