Bayern Munich will look to crown their passage into the Last 16 of the Champions League as the table toppers of Group E with three vital points on the road to Hannover 96 when Bundesliga action returns this weekend.


The Bavarians will be looking to keep pace with Borussia Dortmund at the top of the league table, but Niko Kovac's side will need Borussia Mönchengladbach to drop points away at Hoffenheim to move into second.

Ajax v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Group E

Here's 90min's preview for Saturday's clash in Lower Saxony.


How to Watch

When is Kick Off?Saturday, December 15
What Time is Kick Off?14:30 (BST)
Where Is it Played?HDI Arena
TV Channel/Live Stream?Sky Sport Bundesliga (Germany), bet365.
Referee?TBC

Team News

The return of Kingsley Coman in midweek will significantly ease Bayern Munich's injury concerns, although Corentin Tolisso and James Rodriguez are still missing from their first team squad.


Hannover, meanwhile, will most notably be without forward Ihlas Bebou this weekend, while there is also doubt over Noah Sarenren Bazee, Edgar Prib and Walace's availability for their match against Bayern Munich. Defender Oliver Sorg is suspended.


Predicted Lineups

Hannover 96Esser, Wimmer, Anton, Elez, Haraguchi, Schwegler, Asano, Walace, Ostrzolek, Füllkrug, Wood.
Bayern MunichNeuer, Kimmich, Hummels, Boateng, Alaba, Sanches, Thiago, Gnabry, Müller, Coman, Lewandowski.

Head to Head Record

Hannover are without a point against Bayern Munich since 2011, a year where they secured back-to-back wins over the Bavarians at the HDI Arena.

Hannover 96 v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga

In Bundesliga history, Bayern Munich have claimed a win over Die Roten (a nickname which is also often used for Bayern) on 39 occasions. Hannover have won nine meetings, while eight have ended in a draw.


This fixture has only ever finished goalless once. That result came a few years after the Bundesliga as it's known today was created in 1962 as Bayern Munich weren't a founding member of the league.


Recent Form

The census seems to be that both sides will be coming into the match with clouds hanging over them, yet only Hannover are in any real danger of their season fully imploding, as André Breitenreiter's side currently occupy an automatic relegation spot in the Bundesliga.


There is only one point between Hannover and safety, but even that small margin can feel like a mountain to climb at the wrong end of the table, especially with Bayern Munich next up on the fixture list.


Hannover 96Bayern Munich
Mainz 1-1 Hannover (09/12)Ajax 3-3 Bayern Munich (12/12)
Hannover 0-2 Hertha (01/12)Bayern Munich 3-0 Nurnberg (08/12)
Gladbach 4-1 Hannover (25/11)Werder Bremen 1-2 Bayern Munich (01/12)
Hannover 2-1 Wolfsburg (09/11)Bayern Munich 5-1 Benfica (27/11)
Schalke 3-1 Hannover (03/11)Bayern Munich 3-3 Fortuna (24-11)

Prediction

This might be treading dangerously close to becoming a commentator's curse (or, as a writer, perhaps we'll call it a journalist's jinx) moment, but Hannover against Bayern Munich is one of the easiest games to predict.


The hosts are languishing at the bottom of the Bundesliga table and have scored just one goal in December, while Bayern Munich have found the back of the net eight times this month.

FC Bayern Muenchen v 1. FC Nuernberg - Bundesliga

Having failed to claim even a point against the Bavarians in seven years, it's hard to picture the relegation-threatened side getting anything from this game, and it has all the hallmarks of a game where the only prediction to make is how many Hannover will lose by.


Prediction: Hannover 1-4 Bayern Munich