After a frustrating midweek match, FC Bayern Munich turned on the class for an emphatic home win over Hannover 96. The Allianz Arena fans went home happy, as Bayern cut through the H96 defense early and often. Javi Martinez starred, Mario Gomez made his home return to action, and 5 different players scored for Die Roten.
First of all, having criticized Javi Martinez after Tuesday's match, let me be the first to say that he was excellent today. Not only was his early goal a highlight reel volley, but Martinez made several other nice plays in the first half and was the main reason Bayern was in complete control. He really answered the bell - so, good game, Javi.
Ribery and Kroos were both in their best form, as well. After the early Javi Martinez goal, Hannover had a brief moment of possession, but then it was back to Bayern dominating the ball and creating chances time and time again. Ribery and Alaba are re-discovering their timing on the left side, with Rausch, Cherundolo and Eggimann having trouble dealing with their speed. It was Kroos who gave Bayern a 2-0 lead (and, let's be honest, basically killed off the game at that point) with a sharp volley of his own.
This one should have all the first half goals:
In the interest of fairness, we should acknowledge that Hannover played a match less than 48 hours ago, and it did seem like they might have been bothered by fatigue. Still, with the way Bastian and Javi were bossing the midfield, I doubt they would have created much even with a full month of rest. When H96 took the field at the start of the 2d half facing a 3-0 deficit, they appeared to looking to just get it over with.
Two big moments remained, though: Dante opening his account with a towering header, and Mario Gomez making his Bundesliga return and scoring a goal less than half a minute in:
Sometimes matches get boring once one team take a 3 or 4 goal lead, but today I was watching every minute. Gomez nearly had another less than 10 minutes later, and Tymoschuk got some minutes towards the end (even the Tymo + Javi combo looked in complete control against the H96 midfield).
Some other things of note:
- Bastian and Mandzukic each picked up a yellow, and I think one or both may be approaching suspension numbers. I'll look it up later. With Gomez back, we still have plenty of depth. But maybe we'd need to look at the schedule (to, for instance, leave someone out the match BEFORE a Dortmund game if he's one away from a suspension).
- Dortmund picked up a win, but Schalke and Frankfurt drew (vs. each other). I believe Bayern now has a 10-pt lead atop the table.
Back with more later - I'm going to watch the Dortmund / Mainz replay, then take stock of the league. Thanks for reading.