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Bayern Munich struggle, beat Hannover 96

Things are going to have to improve if Bayern Munich hope to advance in the Champions League.

Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Bayern Munich struggled to generate a lot of great chances against Hannover yet came away 3-1 victors on the day. However, their performance was concerning and must improve before Shakhtar Donetsk visits in the Champions League this week.

Having watched the entire first twenty five minutes of the match, one would've been confident that Bayern would've been the first team to score first. However, counterattacks and poor defending combine for goals. A quick ball wide to the right found Jimmy Briand alone with Juan Bernat. The Frenchman dribbled into the middle of the park and then hit a cutting Hiroshi Kiyotake with a pass that took Holger Badstuber by surprise and out of the play. Dante was slow to close, and Kiyotake beat Manuel Near to give Hannover the improbable lead.

The lead was extremely short-lived, however. After David Alaba was fouled just outside the penalty area, Xabi Alonso and Arjen Robben stood over the free kick. Alonso would take it and slipped to the ground as soon as he struck the ground. The ball smashed into the back of the net as Ron-Robert Zieler was rooted to his line. Just two minutes after falling behind, FC Bayern had their equalizer.

Pep Guardiola had seen enough in the 31st minute. In what was surely a tactical and performance related substitution, Guardiola brought on Robert Lewandowski for Dante. The Brazilian struggled through the first half hour of the match, and his removal can't be a good sign for his future in Munich.

Bayern struggled to start the second half, and Pep brought on Thomas Müller for the ineffective Mario Götze in an attempt to kickstart the offense. Götze, like most of the Bayern attack, was not threatening Zieler enough to cause any problems.

In the 61st minute, Bayern were awarded a penalty after Lewandowski was kicked in the box. There was some consternation over the awarded spot kick, but the replays showed that Lewandowski was kicked in the head as he dove for the header. Müller stepped up to take the penalty and converted to give Bayern the 2-1 lead.

Müller grabbed his brace a few minutes later with a bullet header. Franck Ribery beat his man along the left and put in a sharp cross. Müller leapt above everyone and powered the ball past Zieler to put the match away at 3-1.

Results across the country went Bayern's way as well. FC Augsburg picked up a massive victory over Wolfsburg which increases Bayern's lead at the top of the table to 11 points. Bayern return to the field Wednesday in the Champions League against Shakhtar Donetsk.

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