It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.
If you skipped watching this match, you did yourself a favor. Aside from a 10-minute spell to start the second half, Hannover were ineffectual going forward and their defense was porous. They couldn’t string passes together to accomplish anything and they lost possession under the simplest of Bayern challenges. It was a perfect encapsulation of why Hannover is turning in one of the worst performances in Bundesliga history.
When you look at the statline, Bayern took Hannover apart: 27 shots, 14 on target, 11 highlight reel saves from Hannover goalkeeper Michael Esser. This game should have been a rip roaring good time.
Except it wasn’t. Bayern’s carelessness with the ball was only outmatched by Hannover’s utter ineptitude. Bayern’s ability to put shot after shot on frame was only due to the utter failure of the Hannover defensive midfield to contain a single player. Bayern’s ability to lose the ball was outdone only by Hannover’s inability to pass or dribble.
This was a horrible game to watch.
Vintage Jerome Boateng
Against Hannover, we saw the Jerome Boateng of old; the hyper-aware center-back spraying passes around the field with pin-point accuracy. He was critically involved in the attack for Bayern, allowing Kovac to play with 4 men in central midfield, allowing Thiago, Goretzka, and Müller the freedom to do what they do best: take the opponent apart.
Boateng was instrumental in maintaining Bayern’s control of the match despite their issues higher up the field. But it wouldn’t have been a vintage Boateng performance without something weird and controversial: he gave up a deserved-if-only-because-FIFA-and-IFAB-literally-cant-write-a-coherent-handball-rule-to-save-their-life penalty. Nobody’s perfect.
Hannover allowed Joshua Kimmich to run all over them for some unknown reason
Joshua Kimmich was incredible in this game. I don’t need to retell you what we’re already telling you in our match awards, but it’s worth discussing just how Kimmich ran away with this game.
See, when you’re opponent is hyper-incompetent, they do things like try to play a diamond midfield to stop your potent strikers. Unfortunately, this means you isolate your fullback, Miiko Albornoz, against Serge Gnabry and Joshua Kimmich. This is a strategy we in the business like to refer to as “suicide.”
Which is exactly what Bayern exploited all game. Albornoz was forced to play against the dynamism of Gnabry all game, and Hannover got nothing in return except for the tremendous punishment Joshua Kimmich rained down on their heads like fire and brimstone.