Bayern on cruise control in win over Hannover | News | DW | 23.02.2014
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Bayern on cruise control in win over Hannover

A pair of goals from Thomas Müller would have done the job for Bayern Munich against Hannover, but the reigning Bundesliga champs added two more for good measure. Frankfurt drew with Bremen despite a man advantage.

There have only been two sold-out crowds this season at Hannover's HDI Arena for Bundesliga matches - the first was for a match in the first half of the season against Schalke, and the second was Sunday for Hannover's contest with Bayern Munich. The stadium was packed to the rafters, but if home fans had hoped their side would cause an upset for the Bundesliga's top team, they were left sorely disappointed. In fact, the 0-4 loss to Bayern was Hannover's highest home loss of the season.

Thomas Müller was in top form, opening the scoring after 25 minutes with a header after an excellent high cross from Rafinha. He would pick up another goal in the second half as well.

Despite the ease of Bayern's victory, there was an important milestone with the return of Bastian Schweinsteiger to the team's starting lineup. Schweinsteiger hasn't started in over three months due to injury, but made an excellent debut, setting up Bayern's second goal with a clean through-pass to Thiago in the 34th minute.

That would have been enough for Bayern, but Müller added another goal just after hour mark on a perfect heel flick from his teammate, Mario Mandzukic. Minutes later, Mandzukic himself got in on the scoring with Bayern's forth goal - another header set up by a superb cross from Rafinha.

Not even the absence of Manuel Neuer - Bayern's regular keeper - gave Hannover any hope for a goal. With Neuer given the day off, Tom Starke proved to be a more than capable replacement.

"Tom earned it," said Bayern coach Pep Guardiola after the match, praising Starke's performance. "It's not easy to be the number two behind Neuer."

Flat Frankfurt fail to score

According to the numbers, Frankfurt absolutely dominated their match on Sunday against Werder Bremen. The home side had 21 shots on goal to Bremen's three, and controlled the ball 74 percent of the game - the team's highest mark of the season.

But no amount of possession matters if the attacks on goal lack inspiration and creativity, which was the case for Frankfurt. The team's striker, Alexander Meier, was the only player to come close to a goal, hitting the woodwork twice.

"We would have liked to have one that game," Meier said after the match, but conceded: "we'll take every point in our situation."

That situation is a tie on points with Werder Bremen near the bottom of the table. Thirteenth-place Frankfurt is ahead of Bremen on goals, but both teams dropped behind Nuremberg, who won their match Saturday against Braunschweig.

Frankfurt gained a man advantage in the 34th minute when Bremen's Felix Kroos saw his second yellow of the match following an aggressive challenge on Sebastian Rode.

Bremen coach Robin Dutt countered by subbing off striker Santiago Garcia in favor of Nils Petersen to strengthen the defense. He also switched the teams tactical set up to a 4-4-1, which proved to be an effective move to contain Frankfurt's misfiring offense.

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