First Team

Zieler's Heroics not enough against FCB

For long spells on matchday 17, Ron-Robert Zieler kept his team in the game against FC Bayern München with numerous quality saves until he was beaten from the spot by Thomas Müller after Christian Schulz had handled the ball inside the area.

Both sides make two changes
Both managers opted for two changes in their starting XI’s compared to the team's they fielded during their midweek Cup games. Bayern manager Pep Guardiola replaced the injured Philipp Lahm and Joshua Kimmich with Thiago and Holger Badstuber. Michael Frontzeck on the other hand replaced Ceyhun Gülselam with Manuel Schmiedebach and Allan Saint-Maximin with Mevlüt Erdinc.

Outstanding Zieler
The keepers at both ends of the pitch, both Germany internationals, were called into action early in this game. First, Zieler made a wonderful save from Thiago's half volley from close range after a delightful chip-pass from Vidal had found the Spaniard unmarked inside the area. Hannover managed a quick response when Albornoz' cross from the left hand side found Leon Andreasen, whose header forced Manuel Neuer to a full-stretched save as he deflected the ball against the crossbar. The Reds were not intimidated by their opponents and managed to produce an effective defensive display, limiting the favourites to very few clear chances. Kingsley Coman and Robert Lewandowski both had attempts from a narrow angle denied by Zieler. The biggest chance of the game came on the half-hour mark when Lewandowski's curled shot hit the post to rebound in front of goal and leave Thomas Müller with a tap-in from five yards, but Zieler had rushed back to his line and cleared the ball just inches before crossing the goal-line.

Bayern take the lead
However, the pressure Bayern continued to mount on Hannover eventually paid off, as Coman's low cross from the right hand side hit the outstretched arm of Christian Schulz leaving referee Manuel Gräfe no chance but to award FCB with a penalty, which Thomas Müller converted. Zieler made one more crucial save against Vidal before the break, as the visitors took a narrow but deserved lead into half-time.

FCB defend their lead
Bayern looked to control the game in the second half and weren't as effective going forward anymore. Nonetheless, Zieler remained Hannover's best player keeping his team in the game with saves against long-range attempts from Vidal and Lewandowski early in the second half. The Reds were limited in their attack efforts. Prib fired a shot on target from 30 yards midway through the second half but missed the target. In the end, Hannover were left to rue Andreasen's early chance from a header, as Bayern defended their lead comfortably and secured the three points.

Disappointing first half of the season
Hannover showed a decent performance in the game with Bayern, but ultimately weren't rewarded for their efforts as a very disappointing first half of the season comes to a close. The Reds will now enjoy a few days of rest before they start their preparation for the second half of the campaign.

MATCH FACTS:

Hannover 96Zieler - Sakai, Marcelo, Schulz, Albornoz - Schmiedebach, Sané - Karaman (84’ Klaus), Andreasen (69’ Saint-Maximin), Prib - Erdinç (58’ Benschop)

FC Bayern München: Neuer - Rafinha, Boateng, Badstuber (73’ Kimmich) - Javi Martinez, Xabi Alonso - Müller, Vidal (87’ Rode), Thiago, Coman - Lewandowski

Goals0-1 Müller (40’ pen)

Yellow cards: -

Referee: Manuel Gräfe (Berlin)

Attendance: 49,000 (sold out)

Photos: deisterpics