Bundesliga Preview: Hannover v Bayern

Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich revert their attention to domestic matters at Hannover on Sunday after a successful midweek European trip.

The German champions remain on course to defend their Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League and DFB-Pokal titles after taking the upper hand in their European last-16 tie with Arsenal on Wednesday. 

Goals from Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller ensured Bayern claimed a 2-0 first leg advantage at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday and, provided other results go their way on Saturday, Bayern could be 19 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga by the end of the weekend. 

Bayern have been irresistible in the German top flight so far this season and are both the most potent and defensively sound side in the Bundesliga - scoring 57 goals and conceding just nine. 

However, Guardiola's men face a potentially tricky test at the HDI-Arena, with Hannover recording wins against four of the current top seven sides in the league in 2013-14. 

While Hannover sit 11th, Tayfun Korkut's men have picked up wins against Schalke, Wolfsburg, Borussia Monchengladbach and Mainz this season. And Hannover have also lost only once at home in the league in their last 12 games.  

However, Hannover's recent record against Bayern does not make for pleasant reading, having failed to beat the defending champions since a 2-1 victory in October 2011.

Since then, Bayern have won all five meetings in all competitions, scoring 19 goals and conceding just three. 

There may be doubts over the fitness of Xherdan Shaqiri, Franck Ribery and Holger Badstuber ahead of the fixture, but Guardiola is pleased with the progress Bayern are making in his first season at the Allianz Arena. 

"The players understand a bit more every day about how we work and our ideas," he said on Friday. 

"We talk every day about what we're doing right and what's going wrong. So it's normal that we're getting to know each other better.

"We can keep improving on our already high quality."

If Hannover are able to spring a first league defeat on Bayern since October 2012, they can put further daylight between themselves and the relegation zone. 

Provided Hoffenheim do not take maximum points against Borussia Monchengladbach this weekend, a win for Hannover would put them in 10th, although they will need to avoid a third straight league game without scoring to do so. 

However, Korkut has faith in Hannover's ability to ask questions of "one of the best teams in the world". 

"Bayern do not have many weaknesses (but) we can hurt them at points, we have the quality and the speed," he told the club's official website.


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