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Bundesliga Preview: Hertha Berlin - Bayern Munich


Bayern Munich can complete its Bundesliga title defense with victory against an out-of-form Hertha Berlin side Tuesday.

Having once again dominated the German top flight this season, dropping just four points all season, the Bavarians can make certain of their 24th league crown by triumphing in the capital.

After winning the division by 25 points in 2012-13, all-conquering Bayern, which also lifted the Champions League and DFB-Pokal trophies last season, has picked up where it left off under the tutelage of Guardiola, and currently sits 23 points clear of Borussia Dortmund with eight games remaining.

The Bavarians could have retained their title over the weekend thanks to their 2-0 win at Mainz, but were denied as both Dortmund and third-place Schalke were also victorious, thus resulting in the champions' champagne being put on ice.

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However, even if Bayern were to draw at Berlin's Olympic Stadium and Dortmund were to beat Schalke in that midweek derby clash, the Bavarians would still essentially be over the line thanks to their vastly superior goal difference.

Late goals from Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gotze gave Guardiola's side their victory at Mainz on Saturday and they now boast a goal difference of 64 — some 34 better than Dortmund.

Defender Jerome Boateng is determined to ensure Bayern can begin its celebrations by beating his former club.

"The important thing is that we've won [at Mainz] and taken another step towards the championship," he said. "It's wonderful that we could win the league in Berlin, which is where it all started for me. We've prepared the way for it [at Mainz]."

Despite Bayern's irresistible form — both domestically and in the Champions League, where they will meet Manchester United in the quarterfinals — Hertha can take confidence from its performance at the Allianz Arena in this season's reverse fixture.

Last season's 2. Bundesliga winners took an early lead back in October through Adrian Ramos and even when a Mario Mandzukic brace and Mario Gotze made it 3-1, the visitors remained in with a shout thanks to Anis Ben Hatira's response just before the hour.

Their narrow defeat came during what was a positive start to their return to the Bundesliga but, after some disappointing recent results, Jos Luhukay has seen his side fade away in its chase for Europe next season.

Sitting five points behind Wolfsburg in sixth, Hertha remains within a shout of Europa League qualification but, given its next opponent, looks set to find itself no closer to its rivals come full time Tuesday.

Hertha has not won since a 2-1 victory at struggling Stuttgart on Feb. 22 — scoring just once in four games since that triumph.

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