Hannover coach Andreas Bergmann and Bayern head Louis van Gaal retained their most recent starting lineups. Even a 2-0 defeat to Schalke in matchday 13 was not enough to cause Bergmann to change his setup, and for Bayern, Danijel Pranjic and Ivica Olic earned their second consecutive starts.
After a somewhat shaky two or three minutes, Hannover settled in well and were very combative. Bayern were very susceptible in defense, and gave the Hannover wingers plenty of room to send in a series of what turned out to be dangerous crosses.
Although their opportunities were scarce, Bayern should have taken the lead after some clever footwork from Mario Gomez. The powerful German striker used his strength and dribbling ability to draw the Hannover defense towards him before slipping a pass to wide-open Thomas Mueller. The 20-year old fired on goal, but Florian Fromlowitz was quick off his line and muffled the shot.
Hannover responded by fighting fire with fire, and Constant Djakpa blasted a long-distance effort that Hans-Joerg Butt could only parry, but the Bayern defense cleared.
After some rather even play, Bayern took the lead in somewhat fortuitous circumstances. Reacting to an Olic cross from deep on the left side, Fromlowitz came off his line and missed the ball. Mueller was first to the ball at the back post, and tapped in from cloe range.
After the opener, Hannover's game plan was unchanged, and Bayern remained anything but convincing in possession. Over the second part of the first half, the home side saw more of the ball than did their guests, and were easily the more dangerous side.
Hannover missed a great chance to draw level in the 31st minute, when Jan Rosenthal headed Jiri Stajner's cross on goal, but had little power and Butt was able to produce a fine reflex save.
Late in the first half, Djakpa caused all sorts of trouble on the left flank. A cross found the Ivorian winger open on the left side of the penalty area, and he fired an impressive shot on the volley, which Butt did very well to save. Just before the half, Djakpa again freed himself from Philipp Lahm, but Butt denied him with yet another fine piece of goalkeeping, and Bayern retained a 1-0 halftime lead.
After the halftime break, the two sides took to the pitch unchanged. Play resumed as per the first half, with the two teams equally vying for the ball in midfield.
Things took a turn for the worst for Hannover, however, in the 47th minute, when Bayern doubled their advantage. Pranjic was given acres of space on the left flank, and took his time in setting up a perfect cross for Olic at the back post. The striker drifted off his marker, rose, and made no mistake in heading past Fromlowitz.
With the game well under control, Bayern switched tactics into containment mode, and although the visitors were questionable in midfield, they had plenty of defensive resources and were able to greatly minimize Hannover's attacking opportunities.
The home side came close to getting back into the game in the 61st minute, when Arnold Bruggink was picked out streaking towards the right corner of the six-yard box. The Dutch midfielder blasted his shot towards the near post, but Butt was in position and made another excellent save.
Four minutes later, Mueller responded by nearly making it 3-0 after being found unmarked at the penalty spot, but Fromlowitz did well to save over the bar.
As time wore on, Hannover's injury-depleted squad began to show its weakness in attack. When Bayern were forced to go forward, Hannover stood a chance. However, when Bayern were 2-0 ahead and content to sit back, the home side lacked the quality to break through and score.
Even when Bayern made a terrible mistake, Hannover failed to capitalize. After Holger Badstuber lost his footing defending a cross, substitute Mike Hanke's free header was off-target.
Bayern made it 3-0 late as substitute Alexander Baumjohann picked out Gomez, who had beaten the offside trap. With just Fromlowitz to beat, the German international made no mistake in taking his fifth goal of the season.
Today's win takes Bayern from eighth to fourth place, while Hannover remain 12th.
Clark Whitney, Goal.com