Bayern Munich returned to winning ways in the Bundesliga thanks to a straightforward 2-0 triumph over Hannover at Allianz Arena on Saturday.
The defending champions’ most recent league match saw them drop two points in a 1-1 draw at Freiburg, but they have not gone two domestic games in a row without a win since April 2012.
Pep Guardiola’s side began the match well but had to wait until the second half for the breakthrough as Mario Mandzukic finished a sweeping move and then Franck Ribery buried a rebound after Arjen Robben tried his luck.
In their last match before the international break Bayern beat Chelsea on penalties in the UEFA Super Cup and Pep Guardiola made just the one change from that team as Daniel Van Buyten replaced Dante in the centre of defence.
Hannover were also victorious last time out as they comfortably overcame Mainz 4-1 and the only changes to that starting 11 saw Borussia Dortmund loanee Leonardo Bittencourt and Didier Ya Konan come in for Andre Hoffman and Mame Biram Diouf.
The hosts started the match brightly and Hannover struggled to maintain possession in their opponents’ half.
Ribery tested Ron-Robert Zieler within the first five minutes as he fired in a low shot from the edge of the area, before Thomas Muller skipped past the goalkeeper but could only hit the side netting from a narrow angle.
After a nervous opening 10 minutes, Mirko Slomka’s side did eventually settle, but they nearly orchestrated their own downfall in the 19th minute as Leon Andreasen connected with a Muller pass and almost put the ball over his own goalkeeper from outside the area, but Zieler spared him from humiliation as he clawed the ball away from under the crossbar.
The visitors grew in confidence as the first half went on and Marcelo almost handed them the lead following Artur Sobiech’s front-post flick-on from a corner, while Ya Konan saw a late effort from outside of the area deflected onto the post as the match remained goalless at the break, despite intense pressure from Bayern.
Hannover’s increasing confidence was again in evidence at the beginning of the second half as Bittencourt saw a volley from a narrow angle saved after Jerome Boateng’s poor headed clearance, but Bayern ensured that their hosts’ good work would be for nothing as they took a 51st-minute lead.
Robben showed excellent vision to pick out Kroos in the left side of the area and after shaping to play the ball across goal, the German cut it back for Mandzukic, who stroked it low past the helpless Zieler.
Bayern effectively secured the victory 13 minutes later as Ribery fed Robben and although Zieler denied the Netherlands international, he could not keep out the Frenchman’s effort on the rebound.
With just over 10 minutes left of the contest, Robben almost added his own name to the score sheet as he controlled Ribery’s pass after a marvellous run in from the left, but Sebastien Pocognoli made a vital block in front of Zieler to ensure that the match ended 2-0.