Dortmund Pulls Out Last-Day Win for Title

BONN -- Borussia Dortmund clinched its first German soccer championship in 32 years with a 2-0 victory over Hamburg and a helping hand from 1994 champion Bayern Munich on the last day of the season.


Dortmund, who started play Saturday one point behind leader Werder Bremen, confidently beat Hamburg with first-half goals from German international midfielder Andy M?ller and teenager Lars Ricken.


Bremen's hopes of a fourth championship in their 96-year history ended when they lost 3-1 at Bayern to finish one point behind.


Despite having nothing to play for except pride, Bayern produced a spirited performance to stop Munich-bound coach Otto Rehhagel from ending his 14-year career at Bremen in style.


Rehhagel takes over at Bayern on July 1. But the Munich side made it quite clear before the game that it would not hand its future boss the title on a plate. Bayern's spirit won the club respect around Germany as well as in Dortmund.


It was the fifth consecutive season that the Bundesliga had been decided on the final day.


In 1992 Dortmund lost out to VfB Stuttgart on goal difference. But the team deserved the 1995 title after playing some superb football in the first half of the season.


Dortmund has won the German championship in 1956, 1957 and 1963.


M?ller, who was Germany's biggest disappointment in last year's World Cup finals, and who has been up-and-down this season, gave Dortmund a superb start against Hamburg when he struck home a spectacular free kick from extreme range in the eighth minute.


Ricken then effectively clinched the two points with Dortmund's second goal 20 minutes later. Many Dortmund fans spent most of the second half listening to their radios for the score from Munich.


The news was good.


Bayern took an early lead when German international midfielder Christian Ziege headed in a free kick from Mehmet Scholl in the 14th minute.


Bremen equalized in the 39th minute. But Bayern struck again in the 41st and 78th minute to give Dortmund a helping hand on its way to the title.