Hannover 96 held up the Bavarian steamroller for almost an hour on Saturday, but the patient champions struck to deadly effect when their chance came, subs Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski firing FC Bayern to victory, with Sebastian Rudy adding gloss to the scoreline with the final whistle imminent.
The Bavarians started with Sven Ulreich between the sticks and Rafinha, Lars Lukas Mai, Jérôme Boateng and Juan Bernat in a back four. Niklas Süle anchored a midfield featuring Arjen Robben, Rudy, James and Juan Bernat, with Sandro Wagner as lone striker.
Jupp Heynckes comprehensively shuffled his deck, making seven changes to the XI that saw off Leverkusen on Tuesday, Ulreich, Boateng, Thiago and Wagner being the survivors. The line-up was somewhat unfamiliar, U-19 defender Mai making his pro debut, with Süle moving to defensive midfield.
Müller took over from Robben at half-time, Lewandowski and Martínez replacing Wagner and James midway through the second half, and Heynckes will have felt vindicated in terms of his substitutions after the final whistle.
Goalless first half
The 49,000 capacity crowd at the HDI Arena saw Bayern in the driving seat, but chances proved few and far between in the early stages. Thiago had the first chance when he rose to meet a Rafinha cross, his header sailing over the bar. James aimed too high from 25 yards before Wagner drew a save from keeper Philipp Tschauner.
The hosts showed they had not gone absent without leave, Bernat making a strong block to deny Niklas Füllkrug before Bayern had to thank Ulreich for keeping the scores level when he made a fine save from a deflected free-kick. Bayern upped the pace and came close, but the excellent Tschauner saved from a Wagner header and a Thiago effort, and the contest remained goalless at half-time thanks to the two netminders.
Müller breaks the deadlock
Proceedings were similar after the restart. Sub Müller rifled wide from a tight angle, Bayern camping out in Hannover's box. Bayern broke the deadlock before the hour mark, when a Bernat cross found Müller, who scored with the help of a slight deflection. Both teams were content to do the necessary after the opener, Lewandowski taking over from Wagner.
The Poland international soon put the game to bed, connecting with a Rudy corner to head past Tschauner from 12 yards. The final flourish came when the perceptive Müller set up Rudy, who made it three from ten yards, and match official Martin Petersen blew for full-time.
The result takes Bayern onto 78 points from 31 matches. The Reds are back in action in just four days, when they entertain Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final first leg.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
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Tschauner - Sorg, Sane, Hübers - Bakalorz (Fossum 69), Albornoz - Schwegler (Maier 80), Elez - Bebou, Harnik (Sarenren Bazee 64) - Füllkrug
Esser, Korb, Ostrzolek, Karaman
Ulreich - Rafinha, Mai, Boateng, Bernat - Süle - Robben (Müller 46), Rudy, James (Martínez 71), Thiago - Wagner (Lewandowski 67)
Starke, Hummels, Ribéry, Kimmich
Martin Petersen (Stuttgart)
0-1 Müller (57), 0-2 Lewandowski (73), 0-3 Rudy (89)
Sorg / -