Goals from top scorer Robert Lewandowski, Leon Goretzka and Franck Ribery gave Bayern Munich a 3-1 victory over Hannover, restoring their five point lead at the top of the Bundesliga.
Bayern were dominant from the outset, constantly peppering the Hannover goal and bringing some fine saves from visiting keeper Michael Esser, whose outstanding performance prevented the scoreline from getting out of hand.
Ribery's strike in the 84th minute settled a contest that, on paper, may have looked closer than it was in reality, and the home side will feel aggrieved to have conceded after the visitors were awarded a contentious penalty.
Here's 90min's breakdown of the game.
Key Talking Point
Early in the second half, referee Christian Dingert awarded Hannover a penalty after a lengthy break following VAR [video assistant referee] review.
Dingert adjudged that Jerome Boateng had handled in the area, despite the German's arm being very close to his body, and with the centre-back having his back turned to the ball at the time. It seemed like a harsh decision, and the lengthy period that left the players waiting for the decision once again highlighted the problems with VAR.
Hannover converted the penalty, with substitute Jonathas not only scoring but also being booked for his actions following the spot-kick. But within three minutes, Jonathas went from hero to villain as he was walking down the tunnel having received a second yellow card for violent conduct, leaving his side to face Bayern Munich with 10 men for the majority of the second half.
Starting XI: Ulreich (6); Kimmich (9)*, Sule (7), Boateng (6), Alaba (7); Muller (7), Alcantara (7), Goretzka (7); Gnabry (6), Lewandowski (7), Coman (6)
Substitutions: Ribery (6), Robben (6), Rafinha (6)
Full-back Joshua Kimmich not only repelled Hannover time and again down the right flank, but he provided a key attacking outlay for Der FCB throughout this match.
The German has been a consistent performer for Bayern over the past few seasons, and it will have pleased Niko Kovac to see Kimmich and winger Serge Gnabry playing well together.
I'm so thankful for Joshua Kimmich.— Nattt (@NathuHutchcraft) May 4, 2019
Another Worldclass performance from Josh— JoshuaKimmich🐐 (@Kimmich_WRLD) May 4, 2019
Kimmich provided the cross for Lewandowski's opener and provided a few more opportunities for his teammates to try and add to the Bavarians' lead. As Bayern look to rebuild this summer, Kimmich will be one of the players Kovac will be desperate to retain as he offers great defensive solidity, as well as being an important cog in the attacking machine.
Starting XI: Esser (8); Albornoz (6), Felipe (6), Anton (5), Sorg (6); Ostrzolek (5), Schwegler (6), Haraguchi (6); Walace (6); Weydandt (5), Maina (6)
Substitutions: Jonathas (5), Wimmer (5), Prib (5)
Der FCB go up against RB Leipzig in their next match as the race for the Bundesliga title goes down to the last few games of the season. Leipzig are on a good run of four wins in their last five matches and will be a tough test for Niko Kovac's side.