90’ - Game over! Some initial observations:
- Bayern left Hannover with no chance on the day. After Hannover had the majority of possession in the first 8 minutes of the game, Bayern was in full control the rest of the way. Hannover rarely made it into Bayern’s half, and the game was never really in doubt after the first few minutes.
- Thiago is absolutely insane.
- Most of Bayern’s defensive work on the day was done by the attackers and midfielders. Their pressing after losing the ball was great, and their transition game led to a number of goal scoring opportunities because of it. Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry specifically have been impressive on that side of the ball.
- The score line could easily have been higher as Bayern were still a bit wasteful in front of goal. Lewandowski could have had one or two more, especially on a chance right before the final whistle, and Müller was unlucky to be denied by a number of good saves by Michael Esser.
88’ - A beautiful pass into space finds Lewandowski near the touchline. His cutback to find Wagner is blocked at the last second.
80’ - Bayern just in cruise control now, controlling possession and working the ball around Hannovers half of the pitch at will.
78’ - Sandro Wagner replaces Thomas Müller.
70’ - Renato Sanches comes on for Kingsley Coman and David Alaba makes way for Rafinha.
64’ - Lewandowski is in one vs one with the goalkeeper, but he doesn't get enough height on his chip to score.
62’ - A Shot by Thomas Müller is saved well by Esser. Kimmich saves it from going out for a corner and sends a left footed cross into Lewandowski, who heads it past the keeper to make it 4-0. Bayern have been absolutely dominant today.
56’ - Thiago sends a corner to the near post where it’s met by an oncoming Müller. The header is just tipped past the goal by Esser and Bayern are unlucky not to be up 4-0.
53’ - Gnabry scores! 3-0 to Bayern. Gnabry receives the ball in the box, where his initial shot is blocked, but he stays with it and taps the rebound past the Hannover goalkeeper.
46’ - Joshua Kimmich goes down and stays down. The ball is played out so he can get treatment. It looks like Linton Maina fell on Kimmich's head. After receiving a bit of treatment, Kimmich is back on the pitch.
45’ - Halftime! Some observations from the first half:
- Bayern have been dominant, creating numerous high quality chances, but seemingly scoring on the shots with higher degrees of difficulty.
- Thiago being back in the side just gives Bayern a sense of control they seem to lack a bit when he’s out. He and Goretzka have split the build up responsibilities, as both have been vital in linking defense and attack.
- Bayern have been great pressing high up the pitch, suffocating Hannover whenever they do have possession. Other than the cross and header before the half, Hannover haven’t threatened at all, and it’s in large part due to the defensive work Bayern have done high up the pitch.
43’ - First real chance for Hannover. Haraguchi beats Alaba on the right and sends a cross to the far post, where it’s met by a Hannover player and headed against the outside of the post. Almost an unnecessary lapse of concentration from Bayern just before the half.
42’ - Lewandowski finds himself open in the box, but his shot is blocked. The rebound finds Thiago, but his shot is blocked as well. After the ball falls to Kimmich on the right, a miscommunication between him and Gnabry leads to a Hannover throw.
30’ - What a goal by Alaba! After Bayern really pile on the pressure and create two good chances through Gnabry and Lewandowski, Bayern win a corner and the rebound is met at the edge of the area by Alaba, who takes it on the half volley and lasers it into the top right corner! 2-0 to Bayern, and deservingly so!
27’ - Goretzka tries a shot from the right side of the penalty area and forces Hannovers keeper into a good save. The rebound falls to Coman, but his shot provides no danger.
20’ - Huge chance for Müller! Goretzka wins the ball back in the Hannover penalty area and flicks it to Müller. He has space and a clear view of goal, but he sends his shot over the bar.
18’ - Now it’s Bayern who control possession, but as was the case with Hannover, they haven’t created much from it.
13’ - Felipe picks up a yellow card for Hannover for a challenge on Lewandowski.
10’ - Coman sends in a cross from the left. Lewandowski tries to flick it into the far corner, but the ball sails over.
8’ - Hannover have had the majority of possession since the goal, but in non-threatening areas.
5’ - Hannover win a free kick to the left of the area. The ensuing delivery comes to nothing.
1’ - Thomas Müller flicks a cross back to the edge of the area, and Kimmich volleys it down and into the bottom right corner, 1-0!
Kickoff: We are off in Hannover!
One hour before kickoff: Lineups are out! Kinglsey Coman and Thiago Alcantara are back in the lineup. However, it’s Rafinha who’s rested, not Alaba.
It’s time for more Bundesliga action! After the excitement of the midweek game against Ajax, Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac will be hoping that the game against Hannover 96 goes a little bit more smoothly.
In injury news, the coach confirmed that Arjen Robben, James Rodriguez, and Corentin Tolisso will all miss the rest of 2018. While it’s nothing new for James and Tolisso, the Robben announcement comes as a surprise given that his injury didn’t seem too serious.
In addition, according to reports by Bild, Kovac is said to be ready to rest David Alaba, moving Rafinha to left back and Joshua Kimmich to right back. That would mean playing Thiago Alcantara in midfield. Kingsley Coman is slated to start instead of Franck Ribery, who reportedly missed the final training session. And finally, Mats Hummels may start ahead of Jerome Boateng. However, all this is far from confirmed.
Niko Kovac needs a win here to keep within sight of Borussia Dortmund. The coach will want nothing more than to avoid a repeat of the Fortuna Dusseldorf debacle. However, with the Bavarians slightly fatigued from UCL action and this game being sandwiched between two much bigger games, Hannover might fancy their chances of causing an upset.
It’s Bayern time.
Location: HDI Arena, Hannover, Germany
Time: 3:30 pm local time, 9:30 am EST
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