It was not an instant classic, but Bayern Munich took care of business in turning aside Hannover 96 without enduring much of a challenge. Unfortunately, it was the kind of effort you would have hoped the squad could have put forth against FC Nurnberg a week ago. Regardless, here are some quick hitters on the match:
- Lining up against Hannover 96 always has the potential to be ugly. Without the requisite skill or talent, Thomas Doll’s team tried to grind away at its opponents. Bayern, to its credit, was able to fight through and secure a dominant — yet not wonderfully aesthetic — victory.
- Leon Goretzka showed the box-to-box prowess that makes him such a tantalizing piece of Bayern’s future. The 24-year-old had a goal, but maybe should have had one or two more. More importantly, Goretzka was a constant threat to Hannover 96 and needed to be accounted for at all times.
- The front four of Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Kingsley Coman, and Serge Gnabry was pretty dominant, but did suffer from some poor decision-making — at times — from the young wingers. Whether it was releasing the ball a hair too late or sometimes not getting rid of it at all, the talented wing duo showed that despite some outrageous talent, they still require some fine-tuning. Still, even in a performance that might not have been his best, Coman managed two assists. The wing tandem might be in the process of growing together, but they are always dangerous.
- Joshua Kimmich was phenomenal on the day. David Alaba and Thiago Alcantara weren’t exactly slouches either.
Joshua Kimmich: Created five clear-cut goalscoring opportunities in Bayern Munich's 3-1 win over Hannover 96 on Saturday, a record in a Bundesliga match this season— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) May 5, 2019
For more match stats -- https://t.co/hIuZ4tCbCp pic.twitter.com/eHsZQlVFot
- Good effort by Niklas Sule and Jerome Boateng on the back line.
- Poor Sven Ulreich...all he wanted was a clean sheet, but the 30-year-old goalkeeper has the WORST luck at times. The handball on Boateng was questionable, but still fell close enough to the rule to result in a penalty kick for Hannover’s Jonathas.
- It was awesome to see Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery take the pitch together again. Ribery, of course, deftly added Bayern’s third goal in what might have been one of the least difficult efforts of his career, while Robben came in and excited the crowd with every touch on the ball. Robben did sail a free kick over the crossbar, but it was still phenomenal to see the veteran back where he was meant to be.
- Borussia Dortmund helped put Bayern in a position where a win next weekend against RB Leipzig will clinch the Bundesliga title for Bayern. Dortmund lost a 2-0 lead and ultimately suffered a 2-2 draw with Werder Bremen (so pesky!) with a little help from ageless veteran Claudio Pizarro, whose 75th minute goal tied the game.
If there is any team whose cupboard is potentially getting raided this offseason more than Ajax, I haven’t seen it. The toast of the remaining Champions League teams, Ajax has an abundance of young talent and is thrilling to watch. Subsequently, that has made almost its entire roster attractive to the sharks of European soccer.
Bayern, alone, has been linked to FC Barcelona signee Frenkie De Jong, defensive phenom Matthijs de Ligt, and forwards Hakim Ziyech and Dusan Tadic. Now, we can add 22-year-old central midfielder Donny van de Beek to the list. Bayern, however, will have to compete with both Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur to secure the young talent.
Donny van de Beek could find himself back at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next season after dismaying Spurs fans with his goal in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final last week. The Ajax player is being monitored by Tottenham as a potential replacement for Christian Eriksen, though they will have to compete with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, who are also chasing the attacking midfielder.
Tottenham enjoy an extremely good relationship with the Dutch club, having signed Eriksen, Jan Vertongen and Davison Sanchez from them and if De Beek opts for the Premier League, Spurs will be in prime position to sign him for £45million.
Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has been linked with Bayern — and even recently photographed in Munich looking like a stand-in for Matt Murdoch — but now it appears like he really might want out of Pep Guardiola’s team.
Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Real Madrid target Ilkay Gundogan has no interest in waiting until next year to leave Manchester City. The German midfielder will enter the final year of contract with Manchester City this summer and has held off signing a new contract with the club. According to Italian outlet FcInterNews.it, the German wants to leave Manchester City this summer and has no interest in waiting until next year.
Inter will have to offer him a better contract, but they are also facing stiff competition for Gundogan’s signature. Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has been in constant touch with Gundogan and the club are prepared to offer him a lucrative four-year contract.
Selling Leroy Sané really might be something that Manchester City is pondering. If Pep Guardiola’s side does move on from Sane, City will pursue Benfica star Joao Felix.
(City’s director of football Txiki) Begiristain is concerned enough to have told friends that he may be forced to sell this summer. The calculation is relatively simple - if it becomes clear that Sané’s valuation of himself in terms of demands for salary and greater playing time are too great to be met, City should cash in on the player while they have two years’ of contract with which to secure the highest transfer fee.
The takings from a sale - and in the current market for young, elite forwards these would be substantial - will be invested in a replacement. Prominent amongst the candidates Begiristain is working on is Benfica’s teenage forward Joao Felix.
We all knew this coming: Franck Ribery acknowledged that this is his last season in Bavaria. Let the speculation begin on where he will land, but teams in Australia and Qatar have already expressed interest.
We’ve covered the potential exit for James Rodriguez ad nauseam, but Karl-Heinz Rummenigge couldn’t help himself in giving us one more story to write on it!