Champions Bayern Munich look to keep up their impressive form ahead of their UEFA Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid on Wednesday when they travel to promoted Hannover on Saturday, who are on the verge of confirming their Bundesliga safety (kick-off: 3:30 PM CEST/1:30 PM GMT/9:30 AM ET).
Hannover look to have turned a corner of late with a win over Werder Bremen and a late draw at VfB Stuttgart last time out ending a run of five consecutive defeats. The promoted side are not yet mathematically safe but are certainly in a decent position ahead with a tough set of closing fixtures. They travel to European-chasing Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen either side of a home game with Hertha Berlin following this clash with the champions. Andre Breitenreiter, who scored on his Bundesliga debut at Bayern as a player, is forced into at least one change for this match with Felix Klaus suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the campaign. Top scorer Niclas Füllkrug is expected to be partnered by Martin Harnik up front again.
Bayern are into their stride now and following their DFB Cup semi-final triumph over Leverkusen remain on course for an unprecedented second treble. Despite heavy rotation in recent weeks, the Munich club have still scored 21 goals in their last four domestic fixtures, so expect Jupp Heynckes to make changes once again ahead of hosting Real in the Champions League. It should mean in-form Sandro Wagner starts again while Robert Lewandowski and wing duo Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are given a breather. James Rodriguez started on the bench in Leverkusen and may do so again at Hannover with Madrid in mind. Stand-in captain Thomas Müller may also be given a breather following his midweek hat-trick, but the champions will definitely be without Arturo Vidal, who will not play again this season following knee surgery. Club captain Manuel Neuer is nearing a comeback from a broken foot but will not feature until completely ready, according to Heynckes.
Watch: The history of Bayern's dominance
Hannover: Tschauner – Hübers, Sane, Bakalorz – Jorb, Schwegler, Fossum, Albornoz – Harnik, Füllkrug, Bebou
Absentees: Klaus (suspended), Prib (cruciate ligament), Anton (tendon), Jonathas (muscle tear)
Coach: Andre Breitenreiter
Bayern: Ulreich – Rafinha, Süle, Hummels, Alaba – Rudy – Tolisso, Müller, Thiago, Bernat – Wagner
Absentees: Vidal (knee), Coman (ankle), Neuer (foot)
Coach: Jupp Heynckes
- Promoted Hannover ensured their automatic safety last time out. The lowest they can now finish is the play-off place.
- Hannover have come from behind a league-high eight times.
- Bayern have won their last 10 Bundesliga meetings with Hannover.
- Lewandowski has 104 goals for Bayern. Claudio Pizarro is the only other non-German player in Bundesliga history to score as many for one club (Claudio Pizarro has 104 for Werder Bremen).
- Only Lewandowski (18) has scored more goals than Füllkrug since Matchday 9 (12).
- Müller has 10 goals against Hannover in his career. He only has more against Bremen (11).