Created on 14-09-2013 at 17:21 PM
Bayern launched their attractive new Lederhosen-look second strip with a deserved Bundesliga victory at home to Hannover 96 on Saturday, although the treble winners only wrestled Mirko Slomka’s obdurate team under control with an extra measure of determination and aggression in an improved second-half display.
The 71,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw the champions set off at a furious pace, but the disciplined visitors warmed to their task and created a couple of chances of their own as a high-tempo first half ended goalless. FCB upped the ante after the break and Mario Mandzukic broke the deadlock six minutes after the restart, before Franck Ribery made it two midway through the second period, wrapping up Munich’s fourth win in five league matches, and extending their unbeaten Bundesliga run to 30 games.
The workmanlike victory takes FCB to the top of the standings on 13 points, a point ahead of Dortmund at least until the end of BVB’s evening meeting with Hamburg. Pep Guardiola’s side are in action again on Tuesday when they open their Champions League group stage campaign at home to Russian cracks CSKA Moscow.
Bastian on the bench
In his eighth competitive match in charge, Bayern boss Pep Guardiola sent out his eighth different starting formation, showing one change to the team that beat Chelsea in the Super Cup 15 days ago, Daniel van Buyten taking over from Dante at centre-back. Rafinha remained at right-back, with Philipp Lahm again in midfield. Bastian Schweinsteiger began on the bench, with Thiago, Mario Götze and Javi Martinez out injured.
The treble winners started with Manuel Neuer in goal, Rafinha, Jerome Boateng, Van Buyten and David Alaba in defence, Lahm anchoring the midfield, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery on the flanks, Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller in the centre, and Mario Mandzukic up front.
Hannover supremo Mirko Slomka, whose coaching record away to Bayern reads six defeats, a draw and no wins, and mindful of his side’s horror shows against Munich last season with 5-0 and 6-1 thrashings, opted for a courageous attacking approach featuring twin strikers Didier Ya Konan and Artur Sobiech, stand-in captain Lars Stindl in the hole, and former FCB man Jan Schlaudraff on the bench.
Angle too tight for Thomas
Once referee Tobias Stieler whistled play underway on a drizzly afternoon in the Bavarian capital, the home side set off at a cracking pace, with Ribery testing Hannover keeper Ron-Robert Zieler in the third minute, and Robben releasing Müller with a superb pass four minutes later, the Germany striker rounding Zieler but only finding the side-netting from an acute angle.
Danish international Leon Andreasen almost scored a looping own goal after 18 minutes but Zieler leapt to punch clear, and the more settled visitors created their first chance midway through the half when Sobiech flicked a header only inches wide of the far post.
But Guardiola’s men reasserted control and came close after 37 minutes, Mandzukic just failing to connect with Müller’s reverse pass and Robben shooting too close to Zieler. There was a let-off for the home side in the 41st minute when Ya Konan’s shot deflected off team-mate Edgar Prib and struck the inside of Neuer’s post, before the half ended with Mandzukic and Kroos aiming straight at Zieler from good positions.
Mario opens, Franck follows up
The first incident after the restart was a scramble in the Bayern box, but Boateng blocked well and the danger was cleared. From the breakdown, FCB raced up the field and took a 51st-minute lead: Ribery, Robben and Kroos combined superbly to leave Mandzukic with the simplest of finishes. The champions had the bit between their teeth, but Müller’s effort was blocked at point-blank range, Van Buyten fired over the bar, and Müller shanked a 15-yard shot wide of the far upright.
The men in white and brown continued to press and Ribery made it two on 64 minutes, slotting home the rebound after Zieler could only push away Robben’s angled drive. Hannover heads stayed up for now and Ya Konan forced Neuer into a diving save, before Dante came on for Boateng, and Alaba drew a good stop from the alert Zieler.
Ribery was a constant threat in the second period and earned warm applause when he gave way to Xherdan Shaqiri for the last ten minutes, with Jan Kirchhoff replacing Kroos before the end. Mandzukic dragged the last chance of the match wide before Mr Stieler blew for full time and a deserved home win.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley