Thomas Muller scored twice as Bayern Munich secured a 3-1 win at Hannover 96 to extend their lead at the summit of the German Bundesliga.
Japan international Hiroshi Kiyotake slot home for the home team in the 26th minute but the lead lasted not longer than two minutes as Xabi Alonso curled in a lovely free-kick from just outside of the box.
Marcelo was adjudged to have fouled substitute Robert Lewandowski in the area after catching the Polish striker in the face while challenging for a high ball. Muller stepped up to dispatch the spot kick two minutes after the hour mark.
The German World Cup winner completed his brace ten minutes later, thumping in an unstoppable header from Frank Ribery’s pinpoint cross.
Pep Guardiola’s side now lead the standings with 11 points after 24 rounds of matches, after second-placed Wolfsburg lost 1-0 at FC Augsburg
The former Barcelona coach left the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lewandowski, Ribery and returning defender Mehdi Benatia on the bench ahead of next week’s Uefa Champions League round of 16 second leg tie at home to Shakhtar Donetsk.
A shaky start by the visitors saw Hanover defender Christian Schulz head wide from an unmarked position. Holger Badstuber’s timely interception halted Artur Sobiech’s run in the face of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer after Dante was caught off guard.
The hosts claimed the lead moments later with Kiyotake beating Dante to a lovely Jimmy Briand pass and then smashing into the bottom corner.
Bayern returned to equal footing a couple of minutes later after David Alaba won a free-kick on the edge of the area. Alonso curled the ensuing deadball into the left of Ron-Robert Zieler’s goal. It was the Spaniard’s second Bundesliga goal since leaving Real Madrid last summer.
The introduction of Lewandowski before half-time and Ribery in the 56th minute- the latter coming on for Mario Gotze- added depth to Bayern’s play.
The Bavarians then pulled ahead as Marcelo kicked Lewandowski in the face while trying to retrieve a Ribery cross. The referee signaled penalty and Muller did justice from 12 yards.
Bayern had seized initiative this time as Ribery delivered a brilliant left-footed cross to Muller, who powered home for his 11th goal of the season.
Arjen Robben almost added a fourth five minutes from time, but flashed his free-kick wide. It was however an epoch-making result for the Duitchman, who has now reached his 100 Bundesliga wins in record 126 games.
Elsewhere, Hamburger frustrated Borussia Dortmund to halt the Westfalians’ four-game winning run at the Imtech Arena.
Dominik Kohr handed Augsburg a deserved 1-0 home win over Wolfsburg, as the second-placed side slipped up.