Bayern Munich got back to winning ways by recording an efficient 5-0 victory over Hannover at the Allianz Arena.
The Bundesliga leaders mustered just six efforts on target in the first half, but nonetheless headed into the break with a 3-0 lead thanks to goals from Javi Martinez, Toni Kroos and Franck Ribery had put them ahead.
Dante added a fourth on the hour mark, before the returning Mario Gomez completed his side’s ruthless rout with his first touch of the ball after being sprung from the bench.
Bayern wasted no time applying early pressure, and took the lead with only three minutes played. Long-range efforts from Mario Mandzukic and Thomas Muller had failed to trouble Ron Zieler, but the stopper was helpless when Javi Martinez spectacularly opened the scoring. The game’s first corner-kick saw the ball eventually come towards the Spaniard, who responded by acrobatically converting with an overhead effort.
The hosts continued to dictate proceedings and, an ambitious penalty appeal from Mame Diouf aside, had little trouble containing their seventh-placed visitors. Kroos came close to doubling his side’s lead twice in the matter of minutes, firing wide from distance before spurning a glorious close-range opportunity.
Hannover grew into the game as the first half wore on, and their first notable forward forays came midway through the first half. Diouf was correctly adjudged to be offside on a free kick, before Lars Stindl tested Manuel Neuer with a stinging drive.
Bayern maintained composure, however, and ruthlessly doubled their lead in the 24th minute. The Bavarians incisively played their way around the final third and eventually saw the ball come to skipper Philip Lahm on the right flank. The German sent a low delivery towards Kroos on the edge of the area and his compatriot finished with the most stylish of scissor-kicks.
Further misery was piled on Mirko Slomka’s men as half-time approached, with Ribery netting a confident third for his side in the 37th minute. Sloppy play in their own half from Hannover allowed Muller to pick up a stray ball and the German made no mistake to pick out the onrushing winger. The Frenchman then took a deft touch create space inside the area before lashing the ball past a stranded Zieler.
The Bavarians began the second half in a fashion similar to how they had ended the first, with their attacking quartet continuously probing the visiting back-line. Mandzukic was the first to get a sight of goal after the break on the end of a Muller delivery, while Kroos nearly set up the Croatian with a chipped cross shortly after.
Bayern were not to be denied a fourth, however, with Dante extending his side’s lead just past the hour mark. The Brazilian rose above the crowd to latch onto a free kick from Kroos, and coolly converted his header to open his scoring account for the season.
The profligate Mandzukic was taken off minutes later and star striker Gomez made a dream return from injury as he bagged his side’s fifth with his first sight of the ball. The Germany international’s threat had appeared to be waning as he vied for the ball with Karim Haggui, but the forward shrugged off the defender before clinically curling past Zieler into the far post.
Gomez could only strike straight at the keeper on the end of a Bayern counter minutes later, with Ribery making a mess of the subsequent rebound. The German was then nearly put in the clear by fellow substitute Xherdan Shaqiri, but Zieler was on hand to spare his side further blushes.
The comprehensive victory sees Bayern maintain strengthen their lead atop the league summit, while Hannover slip in their bid to secure European football.