Things are going well to date for Bayern Munich in the 2012-2013 campaign. The Bundesliga was clinched on Matchday 28 with a 1-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt to give the Rekordmeisters their 22nd Bundesliga title and 23rd total German title. The Bavarians have also moved into the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League where they'll face Barcelona beginning next week. Oh, yeah, they're also in the final of the DFB Pokal against Stuttgart. All in all, it's tough to have any gripes with the way Bayern's season has gone to date. They've accomplished everything that is possible to date but have oh so much to win.
In the grand scheme of things, Bayern's match against Hannover on Saturday is more of a advanced training session ahead of Tuesday's Champions League match in Munich against Barcelona. With the lead so impressively out of reach, Bayern's goal will be to avoid injuries. We can expect Jupp Heynckes to likely go with a few starters and mostly backups at the AWD Arena.
Hannover are in need of three points to keep the pace in the Europa League race. The 96ers have fallen a bit behind in recent weeks and are now four points behind Eintracht Frankfurt for sixth place. They have their work cut out for them for the rest of the season to get back into the Europa League places, so they'll consider it a bit unfortunate that they're running into Bayern this weekend.
In their last five league matches, Hannover have only managed one win while picking up two draws and two losses. Comparatively, Bayern have won their last five matches by a combined score of 19-5. On paper, Bayern have every advantage heading into the match. Bayern should come out victors in the match.
For today's preview, I want to get everyone involved. I'm going to predict who I think the man of the match will be and why. You do the same in the comments below.
My prediction for man of the match is Xherdan Shaqiri. The Swiss international should see significant minutes in this match with either Franck Ribery or Arjen Robben getting a break. Shaqiri has been beyond fantastic since arriving this summer from FC Basel. He may only have three goals to his name thus far this season, but there can be no doubt that the midfielder has been very important as Bayern strive forward with the objective of the treble.