Munich - Two second-half goals gave FC Bayern München an ultimately comfortable 2-0 win at home to Hannover 96 on Matchday 5.
Bayern probing, Hannover solid
After a frustrating opening half for the hosts, in which they lacked penetration, Mario Mandzukic opened the scoring from Toni Kroos’ pass, before Franck Ribery fired in a second just after the hour-mark. Bayern were rarely troubled, ensuring that Manuel Neuer kept his 100th clean sheet in the Bundesliga.
The home side, wearing their Oktoberfest-inspired strip, began the game strongly and as early as the fourth minute had tested Hannover keeper Ron-Robert Zieler, with Ribery’s low shot drawing a save from the 24-year-old. They came closer still moments later when Thomas Müller rounded Zieler but scuffed an effort into the side netting. Hannover’s best moment in the early stages was a speculative volley over the top from Leon Andreasen.
Bayern were beginning to make use of their extra man in midfield on account of their 4-1-4-1 formation and Müller twice got the wrong side of Sebastien Pocognoli to fizz crosses into the box, one of which Zieler had to acrobatically deflect clear after a bizarre ricochet from the boot of Andreasen. The visitors weren’t without their moments of danger, however, and came within inches of stealing the lead when Artur Sobiech glanced a header across the face of goal.
Mandzukic makes amends
Next to nothing had been offered by Mandzukic, the leader of Bayern’s attack, but the rangy Croatian striker could and should have put his team into the lead. In a moment that summed up his display up until then, he was slow to anticipate another telling cross from Müller and couldn’t convert from close range. A hugely entertaining first half then ended with Hannover on the attack and Didier Ya Konan seeing his deflected shot bounce agonisingly off the inside of the post.
The second half began in frantic fashion as Leonardo Bittencourt was denied at point-blank range by Neuer, before the home side made the most of a superb overlapping run from Toni Kroos to take the lead. The Germany international received Robben’s cute pass and crossed first time for Mandzukic to sweep home a cool finish from ten yards.
Bayern’s tails were now up and they began to play with more of a spring in their step. After Müller had been thwarted by Zieler and Daniel van Buyten had fired over, the Bavarians added a crucial second goal when Ribery side-footed in a rebound after Zieler failed to hold Robben’s fierce drive.
Hannover heads seemed to have dropped, and a yellow card shown to Bittencourt for simulation rather epitomised their fortunes since the break. The visitors remained competitive to the last, however, and Pocognoli produced a brilliant block to deny Robben what would have been a deserved third, but overall, the hosts can reflect on a satisfactory afternoon's work.
Line-ups and statistics
Bernie Reeves reporting from the Allianz Arena