Hanover – FC Bayern Munich warmed up for the visit of FC Barcelona in style as they hammered Hannover 96 6-1 at the AWD-Arena. It was the Bavarians’ 26th win of the campaign, a new Bundesliga record in this, the league’s 50th year.
Against a disappointing Hannover side, who rarely threatened despite still nominally chasing a place in Europe themselves, the result was effectively decided in the first half, as strikes from Franck Ribery, Mario Gomez and a Lars Stindl own goal put the guests 3-0 up by the break. Gomez then added a fourth and Claudio Pizarro a double of his own, while Andre Hoffman’s first Bundesliga goal provided the smallest measure of consolation for the home side.
Dante, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez were all rested for the champions, but such is the confidence flowing through the squad at present that the absentees were hardly missed in an opening spell dominated by Bayern. Ribery’s half-volley struck the crossbar with Ron-Robert Zieler beaten, Rafinha had a cross-shot blocked, and Gomez almost converted a beautiful first-time cross from Thomas Müller.
The home rearguard looked brittle indeed and just minutes later it had been breached twice. First, David Alaba’s cross was deflected into his own net by Stindl, before Ribery was sent through to drill in his eighth league goal of the season. It might even have been 3-0 had the woodwork not come to their rescue again to keep out a thumping volley from Pizarro.
Lars Stindl finally tested Manuel Neuer with a close-range effort, but the visitors were finding space in the Hannover half at will and a third goal duly followed. Pizarro had all the time in the world to pick out a simple run from Gomez, and the Germany international kept his cool to slot past Zieler. Ribery was then denied a fourth goal by the sprawling keeper.
Hannover coach Mirko Slomka made a positive change at the break, introducing Didier Ya Konan for Sergio da Silva Pinto and it gave them decidedly more threat, with the new man firing in two pot-shots at goal. Bayern made changes of their own, though, introducing Xherdan Shaqiri and Arjen Robben, and their energy revitalised the team after the hosts’ good start to the second period, Jerome Boateng bursting free to cross for Gomez to make it four.
Pizarro had been superb in the role of no.10, setting up two goals for his side, but he finally crowned his 350th Bundesliga appearance with a goal on 71 minutes, tapping a cross from Alaba, who was able to deliver under no pressure whatsoever. Hoffmann headed in after a Neuer parry, but Pizarro rounded Zieler to restore his team’s five-goal cushion, with the final whistle sounding shortly afterwards to put the hosts out of their misery.
The result means that Bayern have now equalled Borussia Dortmund’s record of 81 points in a Bundesliga campaign, with four games left to beat that tally, as well as having scored 89 goals in that time, another Bundesliga record. Jupp Heynckes could not have wished for a more satisfying way to prepare for next week’s UEFA Champions League semi-final.
Line-ups and statistics