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Ajax's rout hands Dutch crown to AZ

AZ Alkmaar sealed the club's first Dutch championship in nearly 30 years without kicking a ball on Sunday after title rival Ajax was routed 2-6 by PSV Eindhoven.

Ajax's defeat means AZ, which has an 11-point lead over second-placed FC Twente, cannot now be caught with only three games remaining. AZ had missed the chance to be crowned champions in front of its own fans when it lost 1-2 to Vitesse Arnhem on Saturday.

AZ players, clad in its traditional red and white colors, broke into song and dance as they celebrated at the team's stadium. Popping champagne corks and chanting "Champions, champions, ole, ole" on one of the terraces, they were later joined by veteran coach Louis van Gaal.

"I must say I wasn't happy this morning but this makes everything nice," said Van Gaal, who picked up the fourth league title of his career after his years with Ajax. "The fans were ready to celebrate yesterday but it doesn't matter now that we are champions."

His team leads the table with 76 points, FC Twente has 65 and Ajax 64.

AZ won its only other crown in 1981 and is the only side outside of the traditional Dutch powerhouses of Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven to claim the title since 1965.

In Germany, Mladen Petric scored twice to give Hamburger SV a 2-1 win over Hannover on Sunday to keep his team equal on points with defending champion Bayern Munich and just three points adrift of Bundesliga leader Wolfsburg.

Also, Hertha Berlin rallied to beat Werder Bremen 2-1 and snap a three-game losing streak.


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