Bayern let their creativity run free

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Thomas Müller spoke of a “top game”, goalscorer David Alaba reflected on a “very, very good performance” and in contrast, Hannover’s Kevin Wimmer said it was a “day to forget”. The post-match reaction after FC Bayern’s convincing 4-0 success away to Hannover 96 reflects the difference in class over the 90 minutes, with the record German champions registering their biggest Bundesliga win of this season after a dominant and assured performance.

“The team were fantastic for 90 minutes today,” said a delighted Niko Kovac after his side’s third successive win in the league, which drew them level with Borussia Mönchengladbach in second place. “The way we played today, both with and without the ball, was very good. It was our best performance of the season in my view and I compliment the lads for that,” he added.

Three days after the enthralling 3-3 draw in their Champions League group finale at Ajax, which “demanded a lot physically and mentally” (Kovac), the Reds showed “who was boss” (Müller) from the outset at the sold-out HDI Arena on Saturday. “We showed creativity and enjoyment in our play, and that’s exactly what we want to go out and do,” added Müller, who made his 300th Bundesliga appearance.

"It's just fun to play in this team."

David Alaba after the 4-0 win at Hannover

Bayern’s cause was helped by Joshua Kimmich, who opened the scoring after just 62 seconds. “We did well and were lucky enough to get the goal after one minute,” assessed Kovac. “It was nice the team took the Bundesliga seriously after the very difficult match away to Ajax, that we did our homework and turned in a dominant display. We were fully focused from the off.”

David Alaba made it 2-0 before half-time with a wonderful first-time shot into the top corner, before second-half goals from Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski secured what Hannover coach Andre Breitenreiter admitted was a “highly deserved win”. “Our plan was to play good football from the start, impose our game and just have fun,” commented Alaba. “It’s just fun to play in this team.”

The statistics underline Bayern’s dominance. 32 attempts on goal and 14 on target are both new records in the league this season. The visitors also had 71% possession, won 58% of the challenges, had an impressive pass completion rate of 92% and were awarded 14 corners, with the Lower Saxony side having none. “They were much too quick today,” conceded Hannover midfielder Pirmin Schwegler. “We had no chance – zero!”

If there’s one minor criticism that can be made, it’s that Bayern didn’t win by an even greater margin. “4-0 isn’t actually enough. We missed three or four gilt-edged chances,” said Kovac. Perhaps the team were saving those goals for the remaining two matches before the winter break, the first of which is against RB Leipzig at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday. “It’s an exciting situation,” declared Kimmich. “Now it’s down to us to do what we can and then we’ll see what happens.