Manuel Veth –
Bayern vs Hannover 96 – Saturday, May 4, 14:30BST/15:30CEST – Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
It was a lost opportunity for Bayern against Nürnberg last Sunday. With Dortmund losing 4-2 in the Revierderby Bayern could have gone four points clear on top of the table.
Instead of more or less sealing the title Bayern, however, bottled it in their very own derby. The 1-1 draw against Nürnberg in the Bavarian Derby means that the gap is still only two points between Bayern and Dortmund.
“The players know for sure that we lost a huge opportunity, but they are only human. Despite the result, we have a point more advantage than before,” head coach Niko Kovač explained to the media this week.
What has been the most frustrating aspect for the Bayern staff was the discrepancy between the performance against Dortmund a few weeks ago and the games against the likes of Nürnberg and Freiburg where Bayern dropped points.
“The Dortmund game was exactly the way I imagined. We are doing well now, but we are not there yet. We have to play faster football; we have to have more counter-pressing as we did against Dortmund. We should not allow the opponent to breathe,” Kovač explained.
On paper, it will be an easy task for Bayern against Hannover on Saturday. The Reds could be officially relegated on this matchday should they lose to Bayern and Stuttgart collect three points in their match against Hertha.
Hannover have collected just 18 points from 31 games this season, and even a miracle victory against Bayern would make it unlikely for 96 to stay in the league. In many ways, Hannover’s problems are a product of their on and off the pitch problems.
Off the pitch, the club is still facing uncertainty when it comes to 50+1 and whether CEO and former President, Martin Kind will continue his investment. That in turn, has meant that the club did not invest in a competitive squad, which explains the many problems Hannover had this season on the pitch.
Nonetheless, head coach Thomas Doll tried to spread optimism this week. “You can’t think about potentially sinking here,” he explained. The reality, however, is that there is a big gulf in class between the two clubs and that although Bayern have struggled this season against underdogs will likely smash Hannover at home in the Allianz Arena on Saturday.
Bayern vs Hannover 96 – Players to look out for:
Serge Gnabry #22 – Bayern München
Serge Gnabry has been a difference maker for Bayern this season. One week ago against Nürnberg Gnabry came on in the second half and scored the equaliser. The attacking midfielder has made a big jump in his development this season and has become a true key player for Bayern this season overall.
Ilhas Bebou #13 – Hannover 96
The fast attacking winger has missed the last 20 games with a complicated tendon injury. “My head is clear,” the 25-year-old said this week. His high speed will be key against Bayern, which is why head coach Thomas Doll is hopeful that Bebou can finally return against Bayern. Should Bebou play against Bayern, he could be a key player against Bayern side that has struggled this season against fast attacking players.
Bayern vs Hannover 96 – Match Stats
- Bayern have not lost against the bottom team in the Bundesliga since matchday 11 of the 2006/07 when they lost 1-0 to Hannover 96.
- Between 1999 and 2001 Niko Kovač and Thomas Doll played together for Hamburger SV.
- Bayern’s record against Hannover: W25 D2 L1
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Bayern vs Hannover 96 – 5-1
Bayern vs Hannover 96 – Lineups
Ulreich – Kimmich, Süle, Hummels, Alaba – Thiago, Javi Martínez – Gnabry, Müller, Coman – Lewandowski
Head Coach: Niko Kovac
Esser – Korb, Anton, Felipe, Ostrzolek – Haraguchi, Schwegler, Walace – Bebou, Weydandt, Maina
Head Coach: Thomas Doll
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.