Oh hey! I know you! You were at that thing with those people a few weeks ago...
Yep. Hannover 96 is back, just a week and a half after Bayern Munich netted two in Allianz Arena.
What has changed? Well, FC Bayern had an emphatic win over Schalke 04, vaulting them to the top of the table with Borussia Dortmund. Hannover snuck by FC Augsburg at home after awarded a penalty in the 88th minute.
Bayern's confidence looks headed skyward as Hannover's confidence is falling back to earth, so there is nothing better but a win-or-go-home match to spice things up a bit.
The Match (52nd meeting)
Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Head Referee: Dr. Jochen Drees
FC Bayern: 7 W, 3 D, 1 L (Drees as head referee)
Discipline – 11 yellow cards (1.0 per game), 0 red cards
Assistant Referees: Tobias Christ, Christian Gittleman
Fourth Official: Arno Bios
Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com
Television and Streaming: ESPN3 (US), Sky Sports 1&2 | HD (Germany), Other Countries
FC Bayern: WWWWD
Hannover 96: WLWWL
Bundesliga: 32 W, 8 D, 9 L
DFB Pokal: 2 W, 0 D, 0 L
Top Scorers (All Competitions)
Largest Victory: 7-0 (April 17, 2010, Munich, Germany)
Largest Defeat: 1-3 (September 22, 1973, Hanover, Germany; March 5, 2011, Hanover, Germany)
Most Goals: 4; Gerhard "Gerd" Müller (November 11, 1972)
The 4-0 win on Saturday against Schalke not only was the "best Bundesliga performance of the season so far" (Pep Guardiola post-match), but also an indicator that all the ingrediants in the Guardiola system are starting to come together (and taste pretty good).
The only difference the squad has than one that emerged from the tunnel a week and a half ago is that Bastian Schweinsteiger is more fit. While Mario Götze and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg have graduated from rehabilitation exercises to full training, neither are expected to play. The bigger question is whether Guardiola starts Schweinsteiger for the second time in five days.
The Starting XI could include Xherdan Shaqiri, who has not started a game for the Rekordmeister since August 27th against SC Freiburg. Thomas Müller, who gave way for Schweinsteiger's return at the weekend, could also return, perhaps playing on the opposite wing with Toni Kroos in behind the striker. It is hard to imagine, however, a scenario where both Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben both sit.
At the back, Daniel van Buyten could very well get a look-in, and Jerome Boateng and Dante are equally likely to be left out of the side. It would come as a big surprise if David Alaba started on the bench, especially given his recent form, but this match could be the Diego Contento-type. Rafinha, while his spot may be temporary, will likely start unless Guardiola moves Philipp Lahm back to right back.
As for any DFB Pokal match, the team sheet is really anyone's guess.
Projected Lineup (4-1-4-1):
Shaqiri – Kroos – Müller – Robben
Alaba – van Buyten – Boateng – Rafinha
Despite only a +2 goal differential, Hannover 96 have one of the better records in the Bundesliga. That is after their loss to the defending champions. Pretty impressive, considering that Mame Biram Diouf was unavailable for the last two games.
Szabolcs Huszti, back from suspension, aided a Hannover escape at home against FC Augsburg in the 89th minute with a penalty passed the dive of Alexander Menninger. He remains their primary goal-scoring threat, whether it is the three goals he's scored or the two he's assisted on. The only other firepower can come from Artur Sobiech, as Didier Ya Konan has not scored since his insertion into Diouf's spot.
With a very thin squad and no European competition, manager Mirko Slomka could just put out a similar similar 4-4-2 that featured on Saturday. Perhaps one of their 30-year-old Christians, whether Pander or Schulz, could spell Marcelo or Malif Sané, but that seems unlikely considering Bayern have netted 13 goals over the past season and a half against Hannover. Leonardo Bittencourt could start as well, as he came off the bench against FC Augsburg.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Projected Lineup (4-4-2):
Sobiech – Ya Konan
Huszti – Prib – Andreasen – Bittencourt
Pocognoli – Sané – Schulz – Sakai
Bench: Miller, Marcelo, Kadah, Schmiedebach, Schlaudraff, Hoffmann, Stindl
FC Bayern have only conceded one goal against Hannover in the past season and a half, collecting a goal differential of +12. Even though Hannover is a top-of-the-table side right now, FC Bayern are on a whole other level, and their result against Schalke proved so. FC Bayern are 11-6 in the 2nd Round matches against Bundesliga clubs. Multiple goals will be a given, and FC Bayern will get to play another DFB Pokal match in December.
Projected Score: FC Bayern München 3-0 Hannover 96