Bayern Munich claimed a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Hannover, applying more pressure on Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund.
Toni Kroos opened the scoring for Bayern in the 36th minute and substitute Mario Gomez made it 2-0 after 68 minutes, while Didier Ya Konan hit Hannover's reply in the 74th minute.
Just days after their victory over Borussia Monchengladbach in the DFB-Pokal semi-finals, Bayern collected their third straight win to move on to 57 points, just two behind Dortmund, who play tomorrow. With top attacking stars Thomas Muller and Gomez on the bench after the drama of Bayern's midweek penalty shoot-out heroics, the home side were slow to get into the game.
Bayern nearly grabbed the lead in the 20th minute, but Franck Ribery's shot went just wide. A minute later, Hannover went close to taking advantage of an error by Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who failed to control a pass from Jerome Boateng and watched in horror as Mame Biram Diouf snatched the ball but was able to recover and block the Senegalese's shot.
Bayern went ahead nine minutes before the break, though, as Ribery crossed from the left to Arjen Robben, whose back-heel went to Kroos for a looping shot over the advancing Ron-Robert Zieler.
Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes then brought on Gomez in the 61st minute and the German international nearly made it 2-0 two minutes later, but his shot came back off the post. But Gomez did double Bayern's lead in the 68th minute, collecting a pass from Kroos, working his way around Christian Pander and beating Zieler to the far left post.
Hannover pulled a goal back after 74 minutes with Jan Schlaudraff's cross going to Diouf for a header to Ya Konan, whose bicycle kick from nine yards out beat Neuer. Diouf nearly equalised five minutes later, but his header struck the crossbar.