Bayern Munich eventually managed to beat Hannover 96 3-1 at the Allianz Arena, but were made to work hard by their opponents.
Goals from Arturo Vidal, Kingsley Coman and Robert Lewandowski were enough to seal the win for the Bavarians and extend their league in the Bundesliga to six points.
Bayern Munich headed into the game top of the Bundesliga, three points clear of second-placed RB Leipzig. However, the league leaders were beaten last time out as they lost 2-1 away from home to Borussia Monchengladbach.
Hannover 96, on the other hand, started the game in 10th place in the league. They only won one of their last five games in all competitions, which came against Borussia Dortmund as they beat them 4-2 at the end of October.
The Bavarians made four changes from the team that lost to Borussia Monchengladbach. Jerome Boateng, Kingsley Coman, Rafinha and Thomas Muller replaced Niklas Sule, Juan Bernat, Corentin Tolisso and Sebastian Rudy.
The away side also made changes from the team that drew 1-1 against Stuttgart last week. Forwards Martin Harnik and Ihlas Bebou were replaced by Niclas Fullkrug and Charlison Benschop.
Bayern dominated possession right from the start, and Vidal had a good chance in the opening minutes, but was denied by the Hannover goalkeeper. The ball came to the Chilean in the middle of the Reds’ box, but his guided effort to the bottom right-hand corner was saved by Philipp Tschauner.
The home side made the breakthrough in the 17th minute through Vidal. A cross from the right side by Thomas Muller was swung around to the back post and was met by the Bayern midfielder, who headed it back across goal into the back of the net.
Hannover struggled to make any impact as an attacking force in the first quarter of the game, reduced to a few counter-attacks which were stopped right in their tracks by the home side.
Bayern thought they doubled their lead in the 24th minute, but it was ruled out for offside after a video review. Muller drove into the right side of the away teams box, and his cross across the goal took a couple of deflections before it arrived straight the Robert Lewandowski, who tapped it in from basically the goal line, only for it to be chalked off.
But just moments later, Hannover were awarded a penalty after Fullkrug was fouled by the Bayern Munich goalkeeper. Fullkrug was put through on goal and as he touched the ball to the side of Sven Ulreich, he was brought down by the keeper.
Fullkrug thought he then leveled it from the spot, only for referee Guido Winkmann to rule it out and order it to be retaken because some players entered the Bayern box before the penalty was struck. But the forward’s second attempt was this time saved by Ulreich to his right side, to keep the score at 1-0.
But Hannover did get their equaliser in the 35th minute, after a corner by Felix Klaus was met by Benschop at the near post, who headed it across the goal, with the Bayern goalkeeper helpless to stop it.
Bayern then had a fantastic chance to take the lead right before half-time, but a header by Muller was touched onto the cross bar by the Hannover stopper.
During half-time, the away side made a change to freshen up the team. Midfielder Manuel Schmiedebach was withdrawn for Iver Fossum. But James Rodriguez almost restored Bayern’s lead a few minutes after half-time, but his effort from outside of the box curled just wide of the Hannover goalkeeper’s right side post.
Manager Jupp Heynckes made a change for the Bavarians just before the hour mark, as midfielder Javier Martinez was replaced by Tolisso. The substitute almost made an impact minutes later but his header was tipped over the bar by the Reds’ stopper.
The pressure kept growing from the home side, and they finally found a way through in the 67th minute. A cross from the right side fell to Bayern’s Coman, who touched the ball down to his left foot, around the back post, and smashed the ball past goalkeeper Tschauner into the roof of the net.
Hannover manager Andre Breitenreiter made another change straight after as goalscorer Benschop was substituted for Harnik. But it was Bayern who almost scored a third when Robert Lewandowski was put though on goal, but his attempt to clip it over the goalkeeper was denied by Tschauner.
More changes followed for both sides, as Muller was withdrawn for defender David Alaba for the home side. The Reds’ also made their final change as Oliver Song was replaced by Miiko Albornoz. But Bayern made it 3-1 from the penalty spot after Coman was brought down by substitute Harnik in the box during the final minutes of the game. Lewandowski then dispatched the penalty, which sealed the win for the home side.