Bayern face Hanover again
Ten days and a controversial pep talk from Matthias Sammer later; treble winners Bayern Munich host Hanover again on Wednesday in the second round of the German Cup.
Bayern were not fully impressive when they beat Hanover 2-0 in the Bundesliga on September 14, which prompted Sammer to question the team’s attitude which he named “lethargic” and without “emotion and passion.”
Sammer’s remarks did not go down well with Munich president Uli Hoeness and Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge – themselves not shy of giving the players the occasional public dressing down.
Fact is, though, that Bayern have come closest to their awesome showings in the treble-winning last campaign since then, opening the Champions League with a handy 3-0 over CSKA Moscow on Tuesday and adding their biggest ever victory at Schalke, 4-0, on Saturday in the league.
“That was our best Bundesliga performance of the season so far. We totally dominated one of the strongest teams in Germany. We did very well. I’m satisfied and proud of this performance and my players,” coach Pep Guardiola said.
Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, back in the starting 11 from an injury layoff, insisted that “our mentality was right.”
Hanover rank fourth in the Bundesliga after a good start and gave Munich some trouble 10 days ago, but must now expect a rougher ride at the holders even though Guardiola may decide to rest some starters ahead of a weekend Bundesliga date with Wolfsburg and an October 2 Champions League visit to Manchester City.
Bayern have caught up in the league with leaders Borussia Dortmund, who are at Bayern’s crosstown rivals 1860 Munich on Tuesday.
Coming off a 2-1 Champions League defeat at Napoli and their first dropped Bundesliga points in a 1-1 draw in Nuremberg, Juergen Klopp’s team will not want more disappointment at the second division side.
Marco Reus and Marcel Schmelzer suffered knocks in Nuremberg but should be fit to play, and central defender Mats Hummels may also return from a back injury sustained in Naples.
“It will be an unpleasant task, 1860 have a good team. But we accept being favourites,” Klopp said.
The teams last met in the Bundesliga in 2004, with Dortmund winning 2-0 in Munich. The hosts have not beaten Dortmund since 2001, and new coach Friedhelm Funkel said “we want to enjoy the game and make life as difficult as possible for them.”
Elsewhere in the 16-game round on Tuesday and Wednesday, SC Freiburg aim to avenge last season’s semifinal defeat when they host VfB Stuttgart.
Ailing SV Hamburg host second-division leaders Greuther Fuerth, Bayer Leverkusen are at Arminia Bielefeld and Schalke are at third division Darmstadt.