Created on 2016-05-14 at 17:21 PM by Alice Hamley
Champions Bayern rounded off a hugely successful Bundesliga campaign in characteristic style with a lively 3-1 win over relegated Hannover 96 on Saturday, the perfect send-off for coach Pep Guardiola in his last match at the Allianz Arena and a rousing appetiser prior to Philipp Lahm hoisting the Meisterschale trophy for an unprecedented fourth time in a row. There was personal glory too for Robert Lewandowski, who finished as the league’s top scorer on a remarkable total of 30 for the season.
Quite apart from a spectacular and moving supporting programme including a performance by US band OneRepublic, the 75,000 full house in Munich saw good football from the men in red with first-half goals from Lewandowski and Mario Götze, and a header off the post by Kingsley Coman. Götze completed his brace nine minutes after the restart, and although Artur Sobiech pulled one back for Hannover on 66 minutes, Bayern comfortably closed out the win.
The result means the champions finish on 88 points from 34 matches, ten ahead of second-placed Dortmund. The Bavarians have just one more match this season, the showpiece DFB Cup final against league runners-up Borussia in Berlin next Saturday evening.
Four new faces
Guardiola made four changes to the team that beat Ingolstadt 2-1 to wrap up the title last week. Mehdi Benatia, Götze, Arturo Vidal and Coman took over from Thomas Müller, Douglas Costa and injured duo Xabi Alonso (ribs) and Javi Martinez (ankle).
The champions, decked out in the club’s smart new home kit, lined up with Manuel Neuer in goal, David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, Benatia and captain Philipp Lahm in defence, Vidal in the holding role, Coman, Götze, Thiago and Franck Ribery in midfield, and Lewandowski up front.
Two up at half-time
After veteran referee Knut Kircher whistled his 244th and last German top flight match underway, the game got off to a breezy start with the visitors initially refusing to be penned back by the home team. But after half-chances for Coman and Vidal, the Reds were ahead in the 12th minute when Lewandowski put away a deflected 12-yard shot following good work out wide from Coman.
FCB kept up the pressure with Ribery firing over the bar and Götze just failing to beat ’96 keeper Ron-Robert Zieler, although there was a let-off for the home team midway through the half when Iver Fossum failed to steer a loose ball past Neuer.
Munich responded clinically on 28 minutes when Götze exchanged passes with Coman, span past two defenders and chipped delicately over Zieler to double the lead, Lewandowski unselfishly allowing his team-mate’s effort to cross the line without applying a touch of his own.
The Pole almost scored with a cheeky back-heel six minutes later but Zieler was alert to the danger, before Coman was desperately unlucky to see his header come back off the far post as the sides turned round with the Bavarians two goals to the good.
The first notable event of the second half came on 51 minutes when Neuer gave way to Sven Ulreich, rewarding a valuable member of the squad for his efforts over the season with his maiden Bundesliga appearance for FCB. As for the next goal, it arrived just three minutes later when Götze cracked home a loose ball in the Hannover box following a Ribery corner.
Hannover had their best spell now and Ulreich showed his class to tip a goalbound Edgar Prib drive round the post, before Rafinha replaced Coman on the hour. Prib again came close, before Sobiech cut the arrears in the 66th minute from close range after a good first touch in the box. Ulreich again saved from Prib and ’96 sub Ceyhun Gülselam whistled a grass-cutter just past the post, before Lahm delivered Bayern’s first shot in a while but aimed too close to Zieler.
Ribery’s next effort dribbled across the face of goal, before Sebastian Rode took over from Boateng for the closing stages. Götze hammered a volley wide, Zieler denied Ribery and Lewandowski shot off target as the champions celebrated their 28th win of an excellent campaign.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley