Bayern Munich prepared for the first leg of their Champions League semi final against Real Madrid with a 3-0 win over Hannover, who are still not mathematically safe from danger.
Bayern made seven changes, with Manuel Neuer and Thomas Müller among those rested before Wednesday’s big game. The headline news was a debut for Lars Lukas Mai, the first player born in the 21st century to represent Bayern. Hannover made three changes from their last outing at Stuttgart.
The game started quite slowly before Bayern started to exert pressure on the Hannover goal. Rafinha provided a cross into the box which Thiago ran onto unmarked, but the Spaniard got under the ball and headed it over the crossbar. James Rodriguez then cut in and curled an effort towards goal, but it was also off-target.
Hannover keeper Philipp Tschauner was called into action twice in quick succession and proved equal to the task on both occasions, first pushing away a Sandro Wagner header and then plunging to deny Niklas Süle, whose low strike was destined for the bottom corner.
Hannover’s first chance came as Niclas Füllkrug found space in the box to strike a sweet goalbound shot, but Juan Bernat got his body in the way. The hosts thought they had the lead when Timo Hübers flicked a shot towards the bottom corner but Sven Ulreich stuck out a hand to make a miraculous save.
It was turning into the game of the goalkeepers, with Tschauner standing tall to deny Wagner from point-blank range. He was again called into action by Thiago but was not found wanting, with another solid save. Hannover were relieved to make it to the interval with their clean sheet intact, and their goalkeeper to thank.
Jupp Heynckes replaced one of his stars with another at the start of the second half, as Müller came on for Arjen Robben. He dragged a shot wide of the mark within three minutes, but it was a sign of things to come.
Hannover’s good work in the first half was undone as they sat too deep and paid the price. Bernat picked out Müller in the box and the substitute’s shot deflect into the bottom of the net, with Tschauner finally beaten.
Heynckes clearly wasn’t happy to settle for one goal and sent on Robert Lewandowski to join the attack. Within a matter of minutes he was on the scoresheet, rising to meet a Sebastian Rudy corner and head in off the post.
There was still time to put the icing on the cake as a cross from the left ended up with Müller. He laid it back for Rudy, who sidefooted in to make it 3-0 with his first goal in Bayern colours. It was a convincing win for the Bavarians, but they have bigger fish to fry in midweek.