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Bayern 4 Hannover 0

Dominant Reds outclass timid Hannover

Bayern’s traditional team outing to the Oktoberfest will be an upbeat occasion this year after the champions signed off in style for the international break, stretching their lead at the top of the Bundesliga with a comprehensive victory over Hannover 96 on Saturday featuring a brace apiece for Robert Lewandowski and Arjen Robben.

The 71,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw Pep Guardiola’s men dominate from the off and go two up within the first quarter of an hour through Lewandowski and Robben. The Pole completed his double strike seven minutes before half-time to cap a fine first half from the Reds against their cowed opponents, and although the second period was a less high-paced affair, the flying Dutchman added his own second of the day before the end.

The win means the champions are up to 17 points from seven games and extend their lead at the top of the standings to four points over Hoffenheim, although Mönchengladbach can cut the deficit to two points at home to Mainz on Sunday. The league action now takes a back seat for the two-week international programme before the Reds return to the domestic fray at home to Werder Bremen on Saturday 18 October.

Shaq and Rafinha from the start

Guardiola made two changes to the team that beat CSKA Moscow in Tuesday’s behind-closed-doors meeting in Russia, starting with Rafinha and Xherdan Shaqiri and resting Thomas Müller and Mario Götze.

The Bavarians lined up with Manuel Neuer in goal, Rafinha, Medhi Benatia, Dante and Juan Bernat in a flexible back four, Alonso in the holding role, captain Philipp Lahm and David Alaba in the centre, Shaqiri and Robben out wide, and Lewandowski as the target man.

FCB in total control

After referee Daniel Siebert whistled the match underway, the Reds instantly took command and led after only six minutes, Lewandowski springing the offside trap and running onto Rafinha’s beautifully lofted pass before taking a touch to control and slotting past H96 keeper Ron-Robert Zieler from 12 yards.

The home side were two up just seven minutes later when Robben latched onto Felipe’s suicidal back pass and advanced into the box before driving firmly and accurately past Zieler with his favoured left boot.

Guardiola’s focused team had the match totally under control and the play was almost exclusively in the visitors’ half. Robben aimed a trademark curler just wide, before Alonso audaciously attempted to chip the out-of-position Zieler from his own half, only for the keeper to recover well and fist the effort away for a corner.

Robben was the danger man in the next spell with a deflected toe poke off the foot of the post and two firm drives, before Zieler again performed well to tip the Dutchman’s piledriver over the crossbar. But Lewandowski looked sharp on the day and after narrowly missing with a header, the big striker scored his second with a fine first touch and clinical finish off the inside of the post from Bernat’s long pass. There was still time for Neuer to show all his ability in the one-on-ones with a great block after Artur Sobiech burst goalwards but failed to convert Hannover’s solitary chance before the interval.

Champions bring home the points

FCB shifted down a gear and Hannover defended with a touch more stoutness in the first 15 minutes after the restart, with Lewandowski directing a glancing header over the bar and Claudio Pizarro replacing Shaqiri on the hour. The home side still threatened in spurts, especially when Robben hit the accelerator down the right wing, but the Dutchman was guilt of overegging the pudding on a couple of occasions and saw his best effort hacked away by Brazilian defender Marcelo.

Former Bayern man Jan Schlaudraff came on for Hannover and Sebastian Rode took over from the excellent Lahm for the last fifteen minutes, with Neuer comfortably neutralising Turkey international Ceyhun Gülselam’s speculative effort. Robben then set the seal on another fine display with a trademark dart inside and low drive inside the near post off his left boot after 79 minutes, before Gianluca Gaudino replaced Alonso for the last few minutes. Zieler denied Lewandowski his hat-trick with a great late save before Mr Siebert brought an end to an emphatic home win.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley