Berlin - Struggling Hanover 96 have the chance to take
advantage of jaded Bayern Munich on Saturday and secure their first win over
the German league leaders for four years.
Bayern head to Hanover for their final game of 2015 with a
five-point lead in the table, but with Pep Guardiola's Bavarian giants
admitting fatigue is a factor.
"We'll pick ourselves up once again and give it our all
to take the three points from Hanover, even if we haven't got many players
left," admitted Germany forward Thomas Mueller.
Bayern are missing injured stars Franck Ribery, Mario
Goetze, Juan Bernat and David Alaba for their final match before the month-long
winter break starts on Sunday.
Regardless of the result in Hanover, Bayern will be top of
the table at Christmas for the fifth year in succession with goalkeeper Manuel
Neuer set to make his 300th Bundesliga appearance.
Having struggled to a 2-0 league win over Ingolstadt last
Saturday, Bayern laboured to a 1-0 German Cup win over Darmstadt on Tuesday to
book their quarter-final place.
Also read: Bayern’s Vidal wanted to meet Juve in final
It kept alive their dreams of winning the treble of
Champions League, Bundesliga and cup titles this season.
Mueller admitted the Darmstadt win "was not a Gala
performance" while captain Philipp Lahm says the Bayern squad has been
running low on energy for weeks.
"The players' condition isn't so great, because we've
played a lot of games and have had few opportunities for turnover in recent
weeks," said Lahm.
"Of course, we're looking forward to the winter break
and we're finding it a bit hard at the moment."
Despite tired limbs, Bayern should beat Hanover, who are
third from bottom, have suffered ten defeats this season and last managed to
beat Bayern in 2011.
Coach Michael Frontzeck is under pressure unless results
improve and Hanover will be without Japan midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake, who has
a foot injury.
- Uncertain future -
Bayern are also bracing themselves to learn about
Guardiola's future plans with an announcement expected before Christmas.
With his current contract to end in June, the Bavarian giants
hope their coach will sign an extension, but reports from Spain claim Guardiola
has already told the club he will leave in May.
Second-placed Borussia Dortmund, the league's top scorers
with 46 goals compared to Bayern's 45, play Cologne away on Saturday with the
hosts winless in their last five home games.
Gabon international Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 18
goals in 16 league games so far this season having scored 29 Bundesliga goals
in the 2015 calender year.
Two of the German league's surprise packages go head-to-head
in the capital when third-placed Hertha Berlin seek their third straight win on
With nine wins, Hertha already have as many victories this
season under coach Pal Dardai as they did in the entire 2014/15 campaign.
Mainz, seventh in the league, are unbeaten in their last six
consecutive league games (three wins, three draws) and have also not tasted
defeat in their last four away fixtures.
Mainz conceded 19 goals in their first 11 Bundesliga outings
this season, but have let in just two in the five games since.
Midfielder Yunus Mali and Japan striker Yoshinori Muto have
scored 15 goals between them.For
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