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Preview: Bayern Munich travel to Hannover, likely to make rotations

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The mission here is to collect some points and keep everyone injury free ahead of Real Madrid next week.

FC Bayern Muenchen v Hannover 96 - Bundesliga
MUNICH, GERMANY - DECEMBER 02: Robert Lewandowski of FC Bayern Muenchen controls the ball during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Hannover 96 at Allianz Arena on December 2, 2017 in Munich, Germany.
FC Bayern Muenchen v Hannover 96 - Bundesliga MUNICH, GERMANY - DECEMBER 02: Robert Lewandowski of FC Bayern Muenchen controls the ball during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Hannover 96 at Allianz Arena on December 2, 2017 in Munich, Germany.
(Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images)

Bayern Munich will travel to Hannover on Saturday for what will be their second Bundesliga match since clinching their sixth consecutive title two weeks ago vs. Augsburg. For Bayern, Jupp Heynckes will clearly be selecting his starting eleven quite carefully, with one eye fixed on next Wednesday’s Champions League clash vs. Real Madrid.

If last weekend’s 5-1 thrashing of Borussia Monchengladbach serves as any sort of a barometer for how Bayern plan on finishing their league campaign despite having already wrapped up the title, then Hannover are in for quite a tough 90 minutes. The hosts, though, will surely be looking to pick up points to further guarantee their safety from the drop zone and will take pride in the fact that they’ve picked up four points from their last two outings, snapping a five-match losing streak.

Injuries and necessary rotations for Jupp Heynckes

Hannover’s roster is largely fit. Breitenreiter wouldn’t say who he’d line up alongside key center-back Salif Sané, but he has his pick. Felix Klaus, who usually starts, will be serving a suspension for collecting his fifth yellow card in Stuttgart. With most of their squad fit and available, they’ll know they have a shot a having a real go at Bayern, who’ve got a handful of injuries and the Champions League clash vs. Madrid to think about.

For Bayern, Jupp Heynckes confirmed in his pre-match press conference that he’ll be without Corentin Tolisso and [most likely] David Alaba, in addition to the long-term injuries of Kingsley Coman and Arturo Vidal. Heynckes also insisted that he’s going to “field a team to win,” but it’s clear that the intent is to escape the HDI Arena without any more injuries ahead of the Champions League match. It would be ideal to give players as much of a rest as possible, but it’s likely that there will be a handful of players that start vs. both Hannover and Madrid.

Predicted lineup for Bayern

With injuries and necessary rotations in mind, here’s how Bayern could potentially lineup at the HDI Arena:

With this predicted lineup, you have the perfect balance in calculated risk; enough to [hopefully] get the job done, while also being able to rest some key players ahead of the Madrid match. With Alaba being a major doubt for this one, the back five more or less picks itself, unless Heynckes decides to give Juan Bernat a go on the left and push Rafinha over to the right, giving Kimmich a break. In midfield, Javi Martinez could get important rest, and Rudy can get some solid minutes as the holding midfielder with James Rodriguez and Thiago deployed just ahead of him on either side. Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben might be two of the players who’ll start both matches vs Hannover and Madrid, but Bayern need to have some firepower if they want to score vs a well-disciplined Hannover side. Ideally, we could take them off in the second half if we have a lead.

Hannover have no fear

In the first meeting between these two sides back in December, Hannover proved to be a tough nut to crack after going into the halftime break level at 1-1; it could’ve been 2-1 to Hannover at the break had it not been for a box violation during a Niclas Füllkrug penalty kick. Bayern ultimately edged Hannover 3-1, but made hard work of it. Hannover boss Andre Breitenreiter is relishing the chance to take on the Bundesliga champs for the second time this season, and his players are too (via kicker)

I’m never afraid; I love soccer too much for that. That’s also true of my players. It’s nice to test oneself against the best. There is no need to fear Bayern, but we can’t allow ourselves to make any mistakes.

Jupp Heynckes also gave Hannover credit (via FCBayern), wary of the fact that they play well at home:

Hannover have played very well for long periods of this season as a promoted side. They’re a team who play compact football at home, are well organised and have a clear plan.