Bayern Munich clinch third consecutive Bundesliga title

BERLIN -- Bayern Munich clinched their third straight Bundesliga title with four games to spare Sunday, thanks to a little help from traditional rival Borussia Moenchengladbach.

'Gladbach forward Max Kruse scored in the last minute to inflict a 1-0 defeat on second-place Wolfsburg, removing the mathematical possibility of Bayern being caught.

With 76 points from 30 games, Bayern has an unassailable 15-point lead over Wolfsburg, one of only two sides to have beaten the Bavarian powerhouse this season. Moenchengladbach are the other.

Bastian Schweinsteiger scored late for Bayern to beat Hertha Berlin 1-0 at home on Saturday, the win that ultimately secured the club's third straight Bundesliga title.

Bayern have a record 25 German championships overall, including the first from 1932, with the rest coming after the Bundesliga was formed in 1963.

"Retaining the title is a magnificent achievement. All credit to the coach and the team," Bayern president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said on the club's website.

"They've been fantastic throughout, in a season following a World Cup where we had a host of players in action."

The treble is still a possibility for Pep Guardiola's side in his second season at the club, with a German Cup semifinal at home to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, before attention turns to Barcelona in the Champions League semifinals.

Guardiola led Bayern to a league and cup double in his first season after taking over from Jupp Heynckes, who had steered the side to the treble in 2013.

The Champions League semifinalists will have to wait to celebrate their title with their fans, however, as they travel to Bayer Leverkusen next week before hosting Augsburg on May 9.

'Gladbach made the better start against Wolfsburg on Sunday, with Patrick Herrmann going close in the 21st, before the visitors improved. Kevin de Bruyne and Ricardo Rodriguez both had good chances before the break.

The best chances of the second half fell Kruse, firing over in the 74th and just wide two minutes later, before he finally sealed the result for Bayern's celebrations to begin.

"Bayern deserve it, they're the best, and we deserved it too, to win today," 'Gladbach coach Lucien Favre said. "I always thought we could score a goal."

Earlier, Paderborn let slip a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at home with Werder Bremen and miss the opportunity to escape the relegation zone.

Mario Vrancic met Moritz Stoppelkamp's corner with a brilliant volley to blast Paderborn ahead in the 26th minute and Stoppelkamp headed the home side's second a minute later.

Suleyman Koc almost made it 3-0 two minutes after that but shot just wide of the far post, and Paderborn were to rue several missed chances.

Davie Selke pulled one back with a header just before the break, and Izet Hajrovic equalized in the 76th, two minutes after coming on as a substitute, with a low shot inside the post after a corner.

The home side had Michael Heinloth sent off with a second yellow card two minutes after that.

Paderborn moved a point above bottom club Stuttgart, while a win would have propelled the promoted side above Hamburger SV and Hannover. Bremen missed the chance to go seventh.

The Associated Press and Press Association contributed to this report.