Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich opened up a four-point lead on Borussia Dortmund thanks to a workmanlike win over bottom side Hannover at the Allianz Arena.
Bayern Munich 3-1 Hannover
Goals: 1-0 Lewandowski (27’), 2-0 Goretzka (40’), 2-1 Jonathas (pen. 51’), 3-1 Ribery (84’)
Red card: Jonathas (55’)
After conceding the first opening of the afternoon to Genki Haraguchi - who headed a Linton Maina cross wide - Bayern barely put a foot wrong. Michael Esser had already thwarted efforts from Leon Goretzka, Kingsley Coman and Thomas Müller when Robert Lewandowski connected with Joshua Kimmich’s flighted pass for the inevitable opener in the 27th minute. Defender Jerome Boateng fired off another warning shot, before Goretzka stroked in via a post from 18 yards out for 2-0. It could have been worse for Hannover, with Esser and then the crossbar denying Goretzka his second late in a decidedly one-sided half.
Bayern appeared to have an ironclad grip on proceedings, but a handball decision against Boateng presented Hannover with the opportunity to halve the deficit from the penalty spot. Substitute striker Jonathas duly obliged, only to be shown his marching orders for two bookable offences three minutes later. Esser frustrated Bayern with smart saves from Serge Gnabry and David Alaba, before Franck Ribery put the result beyond any doubt and the pressure on Dortmund, who later let a two-goal lead slip in a 2-2 draw at Werder Bremen. As for Hannover, they must win their final two games of the season to have any chance of salvaging a place in the relegation play-offs.
- Lewandowski ended a run of three matches without a goal. The Pole is on 22 for the campaign, and has found the net in five consecutive meetings with Hannover.
- Goretzka has a career-high eight goals for the season.
- Bayern have scored 16 goals from crosses this term, and a league-high 17 headers.
- Kimmich registered 10 Bundesliga assists last season, but has 12 this term. Only Dortmund's Jadon Sancho has more (14).
- Ribery scored his first goal since 22 December 2018.
- Arjen Robben made his first Bundesliga appearance since November.
- Jonathas's penalty was the 2000th Bundesliga goal Bayern have conceded, and the first at home in five matches.
Bayern: Ulreich - Kimmich, Süle, Boateng, Alaba (Rafinha 88') - Goretzka, Thiago - Gnabry (Ribery 71'), Müller (c), Coman (Robben 86') - Lewandowski
Unused subs: Hoffmann, Hummels, Tolisso, Sanches
Out: Früchtl (elbow), James (knee), Martinez (knee), Neuer (calf)
Coach: Niko Kovac
Hannover: Esser - Sorg, Anton, Felipe (Wimmer 69'), Albornoz, Ostrzolek - Haraguchi, Schwegler (c), Walace - Maina (Prib 88') - Weydandt (Jonathas 46')
Unused subs: Sahin-Radlinger, Korb, Fossum, Muslija
Out: Akpoguma (shoulder), Bakalorz (suspended), Füllkrug (knee), Hübers (knee), Müller (groin), Sarenren Bazee (shin), Wood (knee)
Coach: Thomas Doll
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