DFB-Pokal: FC Bayern vs. Hannover 96 | Recap

Alexander Hassenstein

Bayern advance to Round of 16 after spirited showing against recent opponents Hannover.

The first half saw dominant runs of play from both teams, and Bayern got two goals out of theirs to Hannover's one.

The first clear chance came in the 12th minute when a cross from the left was headed by Claudio Pizarro towards the center of the box to Xherdan Shaqiri. Shaqiri's point-blank shot was kept out by Hannover's Ron-Robert Zieler against the odds.

Bayern kept up their attacking form and were rewarded five minutes later when Shaqiri was on the crossing end of the move forward this time, and his cross found Thomas Müller, who, through by any number of means, ensured the ball ended up in the back of the net. Zieler smartly appealed for handball, but Müller actually used his chest and possibly his arm, (which was by his side) to contact the ball. To disallow it would probably have been a harsh decision, though Hannover will surely disagree with that assessment.

Ten more minutes of the Bavarians controlling the tempo would pass until Dante won back the ball deep in Hannover's third and worked a splendid one-two with Contento before receiving the ball back and sending in a cross on his return touch. Driven and taking the course of a taught rope, the one-touch cross still needed redirection towards goal, and an unmarked Claudio Pizarro provided that to perfection.

From then, however, the last fifteen minutes of the first half belonged to Hannover.

Twice Bayern allowed dangerous crosses and they were eventually punished by Didier Ya Konan, who was the intended target of both.

Ten minutes after Bayern scored the 2-0, Sebastien Pocognoli expertly picked out Ya Konan who volleyed the 96'ers back to within one. On the play, Dante marked the correct person, although this was towards the penalty spot, and Contento didn't properly switch over to Ya Konan, essentially letting in the goal as only the simplest of volleys was required to put the chance away.

Guardiola's team opted for more possession in the second half and a more cautious tempo to slow and wear down Hannover, and the plan worked as hoped, affirmed by Thomas Müller's match-sealing goal off of a Shaqiri free kick from just beyond the right "elbow" of the box. If ever there was a typical Müller goal (and it hadn't already occurred in the first half), it was this. He simply found his way around his marker and got his foot in first, displaying adept anticipation in the process. His volley was unsaveable for Zieler, whose defense did him no favors either.

Müller nearly got his hattrick a minute later when Schweinsteiger had what seemed like an hour to make up his mind in the box before laying it off to substitute Franck Ribery, who raced to the endline before squaring it back, only for Müller to fire wide of goal to the left.

Ten minutes from time, Müller again had a chance to get his third after intercepting a pass and sending in a shot from distance, but Zieler deflected it. Fortunately for Bayern, it was spilled right into Ribery's feet and he casually put the Reds (or lederhosen-clad Whites as it were) up three.

Bayern had firm control of the rest of the match, aside from allowing a Hannover cross to threaten goal, and cruised into the Round of 16 with relative ease.

Positives:

- Dante seems to be back in last year's form, and not a moment too soon. His passing was a delight, adeptly taking over Jerome Boateng's role as defensive distributor on the evening.

- Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos worked together as lethally as they did against Schalke, suffocatiing the opponent for long stretches of the game.

- If this match meant that Thomas Müller has started scoring goals en masse again, Bayern will soon be putting up some ridiculous scorelines.

Negatives:

- Diego Contento proved once again that he's a solid option against smaller clubs, but even Hannover tested him beyond his capabilities. Bayern have known this for a long time now, and will likely try to find a more suitable alternative at the next transfer window.

- As nice as the result was, Hannover certainly played right into Bayern's hands by leaving men forward at various points in the match. The scoreline could have been different had they played more defensively.

The draw for the next round is on Sunday after the Braunschweig get done taking on Stuttgart.

The matches will take place on either 3 or 4 December, shortly before the Winter break.

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