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After a rather dull start to the second half, Leverkusen FINALLY started to get into the game in the 58th minute. A cross from Hanno Balitsch found the head of Stefan Kießling, but the header would miss the target. Then Eren Derdiyok would get the visitors on the scoreboard in the 62nd minute. Leverkusen would have a corner kick, and Derdiyok would pounce on the loose ball and put it in the back of the net.
Bayern would respond in the 76th minute through Franck Ribéry. Mario Gomez would bring a ball down on his chest at the top of the Leverkusen box before slipping the ball to French winger. Ribéry squeezed through the Leverkusen back line and shot the ball past René Adler to make it 5-1.
Aside from the moment of madness in the Bayern box that Leverkusen capitalized on, they haven't done much at all to impress today. This has to be extremely disappointing for a side that came in to today with five wins in a row and unbeaten in their last eight. They'll now be watching today's match between Borussia Dortmund and Freiburg hoping that Freiburg defeate the league leaders.
The first half is over at the Allianz Arena, and it has been all Bayern München. It's been nothing short of a dominating performance by the home side. Bayer Leverkusen have seen little of the ball in the attacking half of the field, and I believe I saw Jörg Butt reading a book at one point in the Bayern goal.
The scoring started off in the 7th minute on a Bayern corner kick. Bastian Schweinsteiger would get a flick header on a Franck Ribéry service. The ball would strike Leverkusen's Simon Rolfes in the face and trickle into his own goal. The first of Gomez's hat trick would come in the 28th minute on a square pass in the box by Thomas Müller. The second and third goal from Gomez would come in the 44th and 45th minute.
Leverkusen make one change at the half: Lars Bender for Gonzalo Castro.
Mario Gomez scored in the 28th minute to give Bayern a 2-0 lead. Thomas Müller dribbled deep into the Leverkusen boxx, only to see Arturo Vidal strip him of the ball on the endline. Vidal then inexplicably attempted a back heel to keep the ball in play which went right back to Müller. The Bayern midfielder played a simple ball across the middle that Gomez struck off the post and in the back of the net.
So far this match has been all Bayern München at the half hour mark. Jörg Butt has yet to have a ball kicked at him in anger in the net for Bayern. Leverkusen have gained no traction in the midfield.
Bayern did have to make an early substitution as Daniel Pranjic went down with a leg injury. Interim manager Andries Jonker brought on Diego Contento as his replacement. Leverkusen does have Stefan Kießling warming on the sideline, so we could see a substitution at halftime to get some more firepower on the field for the visitors.
Bayern started the match off on the attacking foot, and it paid off in just the 7th minute. Thomas Müller would earn a corner kick with a charge run down the right flank. Ribéry would deliver a free kick to the near post that Bastian Schweinsteiger would get his head on to flick to the back post. Before Simon Rolfes could react, the ball smacked him in the face and into his own net.
The start to this match is far from what Leverkusen would want. They have to keep up the pressure and catch Bayern on the counter if they're planning on getting points out of this match.
Bayern could not have asked for a better start to this match. They absolutely need all three points from this match, and they have started with the fire in their belly you would expect after the firing of Louis van Gaal this week.
There is no bigger match this weekend in the Bundesliga than Bayern and Leverkusen. This match means so much to both sides today. If Bayern win today's match, they will jump Hannover 96 back into third place and a Champions League position for next season. A win by Leverkusen will put all of the pressure in the world on Borussia Dortmund to win against Freiburg today.
Bayern will be without Arjen Robben and Holger Badstuber for today's match. Ribéry and Schweinsteiger were questionable heading in to today due to injuries they picked up in training this week, but both are in the starting lineup.
Jupp Heynckes brings his Bayer Leverkusen side to the Allianz looking for a victory. Heynckes has already been named the Bayern manager for next season. Such an odd position for a manger to be in, no?
Bayern München: Butt; Gustavo, van Buyten, Pranjic, Lahm; Müller, Tymoshchuk, Schweinsteiger, Ribéry; Klose, Gomez
Bayer Leverkusen: Adler; Reinartz, Schwaab, Castro, Balitsch; Rolfes, Augusto, Vidal, Sam; Derdiyok, Ballack
You can watch this match live on ESPN3.com.
Hamburg and Hannover 96 will be leaving the Imtech Arena on Saturday with the feeling that they left two points on the field.
The second half saw the match really pick up in intensity and both sides would see several quality scoring chances. With a quarter of an hour left, both sides would see their best efforts fail to hit the back of the net. Dider Ya Kanon would miss inches wide of the far post, and then Eljero Elia would later have a shot cleared off the line minutes later.
Each side used only one substitute, and both opened the game up dramatically. Hamburg would bring on Burkina Faso international Jonathan Pitroipa for Tunay Torun. He added a spark to the right side to balance the side with Elia on the left. Hannover would replace the injured Mohammed Abdellaoue with Jan Schlaudraff. Schlaudraff was able to get behind the Hamburg back four repeatedly, but Konstantin Rausch would put the best opportunity produced right into the arms of Frank Rost.
Hamburg have to be disappointed that Elia was not able to connect more with Ruud van Nistelrooy and Mladen Petric. Elia was unable to effectively beat Hannover right back Steve Cherundolo in the second half. When he did beat Cherundolo, he was often unable to find a teammate to create a scoring opportunity. Elia may also want to investigate getting a new pair of cleats, as he spent the majority of the match lifting himself off of the pitch after falling.
Hannover 96 now sit two points ahead of Bayern München for the third Champions League place. Bayern play host to Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday. Hamburg are now five points back of the final Europa League place.
Hamburg and Hannover 96 are currently scoreless at halftime at the Imtech Arena in Hamburg.
Hannover 96 surely had the best scoring chance in the first half. Manuel Schmiedebach played a great ball to Mohammed Abdellaoue right through Hamburg's centerbacks. Abdellaoue was able to navigate his way around Frank Rost and put in a low cross toward Konstantin Rausch who would have had to just touch the ball for it to go into the back of the net. Hamburg's Dennis Deikmeier got back just in time to throw his foot in front of Rausch and knock the ball away from Rausch and out for a corner.
Eljero Elia has looked very good for Hamburg early on in this match. It's been a battle along the the right side of the field between Elia and Hannover captain Steve Cherundolo. Hamburg will be looking to see Elia link up with Ruud van Nistelrooy and Mladen Petric in the second half to produce more quality scoring chances for the home side.
There is still a lot to play for this season in the Bundesliga for both of these clubs, so expect a high-spirited affair. Hannover will be looking to put some distance between itself and Bayern before their match tomorrow for the third and final Champions League spot. Hamburg needs a win to keep up with Mainz for the Europa League places after they defeated Borussia Mönchengladbach last night.
There's only one change for either side from the squads they put on the pitch last week. Hamburg will replace the suspended Änis Ben-Hatira with Tunay Turon.
Hannover's defense will look to contain Ruud van Nistelrooy and Mladen Petric. Hannover have struggled on the road this season with six of their ten losses coming away from home.
Hamburg: Rost; Diekmeier, Kacar, Westermann, Aogo; Jarolim; Torun, Zé Roberto, Elia; van Nistelrooy, Petric
Hannover: Zieler; Cherundolo, Haggui, Pogatetz, Schulz; Stindl, Schmiedebach, Pinto, Raush; Konan, Abdellaou
You can watch this match live on ESPN3.com.