Robert Lewandowski scored twice and set up the other as 10-man Bayern Munich eased the pressure on Niko Kovac with a much-needed 3-1 win at Wolfsburg on Saturday.
Arjen Robben's second-half dismissal for two needless bookings - the first a dive on the edge of the area - gave Kovac some unnecessary concern, but James Rodriguez popped up in the 72nd minute to curtail a four-game competitive winless run.
Lewandowski had earlier struck either side of half-time to establish a two-goal buffer that was reduced through Wout Weghorst soon after Robben's departure.
But, a day after Bayern president Uli Hoeness labelled press treatment of the club a "joke", the headlines are kinder for Kovac thanks to Colombia star James, a player with whom he has reportedly shared a tense relationship.
Scoreless in five matches for club and country, Lewandowski's struggles initially continued when his mishit follow-up to a Robben effort allowed Koen Casteels to scramble the ball off the line.
Salvation soon came for the Poland international as, in the 30th minute, he read Thiago Alcantara's dummy of a Mats Hummels pass and finished through the goalkeeper's legs.
Casteels denied James before the break only for Wolfsburg to gift away the second within three minutes of the restart, defender William's backward header presenting Lewandowski with a simple one-on-one finish.
An unlikely lifeline for the hosts came through Robben's second booking for a trip on Elvis Rexhbecaj and they took advantage six minutes later as Yannick Gerhardt squared for Weghorst reduce the deficit.
However, the hope proved to be fleeting, James profiting from a fine Lewandowski pass to get the champions back on track in the Bundesliga.
What it means: Performance matches result
Kovac claimed in his pre-match press conference that Bundesliga champions Bayern were performing well despite recent results and his comments were justified at Volkswagen Arena, a dominant first half allied to a resilient last half hour that demonstrated a team in good working order.
Thiago sets the tempo
Partnered with Javi Martinez in midfield, Spain international Thiago injected Bayern with a sense of calm in possession, while his clever decision to leave Hummels' pass in the first half set Lewandowski free for the essential opener.
Robben's avoidable red
Bayern were coasting until the experienced Robben drew a second booking that offered Wolfsburg a way back into the contest their play had never previously looked like meriting.
Key Opta stats:
- Bayern have won four consecutive Bundesliga matches at Wolfsburg for the first time.
- Lewandowski has scored 18 Bundesliga goals against Wolfsburg, only verus Augsburg has he managed as many goals.
- Javi Martinez has won 10 out of 10 competitive matches against Wolfsburg.
2011 - Arjen Robben has received his first red card since April 2011 (v 1. FC Nürnberg). Tschüss. pic.twitter.com/YtuSnkBL2h— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) October 20, 2018
Bayern visit AEK Athens in the Champions League on Tuesday before a weekend trip Mainz, while Wolfsburg head to lowly Fortuna Dusseldorf next Saturday.
20 de enero 2019
|Modric wants to extend Real Madrid stay|
|Marotta: Icardi will re-sign, Godin wants Inter|
|´F*** no!´ - Westbrook on if he´s cool with Embiid|
|Mickelson shoots 66 to stay ahead at Desert Classic|
|Real Madrid? You never know what the future holds - PSG´s Mbappe|
|Inter lacked quality in disappointing Sassuolo draw - Spalletti|
|Walton has one goal for Lakers-Rockets matchup: Keep Harden under 50 points|
|CAF Champions League Review: Simba learn Vita lesson as Sundowns find form|
19 de enero 2019
|Bayliss relishing pressure of World Cup and Ashes to finish England reign|
|Guardiola keen to keep City rhythm and challenge on four fronts|
|Fifita backs Johnson to inspire the Sharks|
|For Real Madrid, nothing is impossible - Solari refuses to give up in title race|
|Inter 0 Sassuolo 0: Spalletti´s side labour at sparse San Siro|
|Marshawn Lynch will continue playing ´if it works out´|
|Simeone excited by improving Atleti|
|Jones ´cautiously optimistic´ over Farrell ahead of Ireland clash|
|Sarri questions Chelsea motivation after Arsenal surrender|
|Emery urges Arsenal to find balance after downing Chelsea|
|Koscielny hails Arsenal fighting spirit in Chelsea win|
|Pellegrini: It was not a good idea for Arnautovic to play|
|Iran v Oman: We´re not satisfied yet, says Al Mahaijri|
|Carbery sends Munster through and ends Exeter´s lingering Champions Cup hopes|
|Dyche defiant despite offside call|
|Hasenhuttl rates Everton win as Southampton´s best|
|Benitez looking up the table after Schar inspires win over Cardiff|
|RB Leipzig 0 Borussia Dortmund 1: Witsel restores six-point cushion|
|Swansea City 1 Sheffield United 0: McBurnie punishes wasteful Blades|
|Cardiff sign Sala from Nantes for club-record fee|
|Arsenal 2 Chelsea 0: Lacazette and Koscielny fire Gunners to rousing derby win|
|Huesca 0 Atletico Madrid 3: Dominant Atleti keep pressure on Barca|
|Rashford arguably league´s best striker with Kane out - Solskjaer|
|Hafeez plays steady hand as Pakistan punish Proteas´ patient approach|
|Klopp: Exceptional Salah would have scored even more up front!|
|Suspected ´serious´ Verratti injury leaves Tuchel with mixed emotions|
|We needed to rediscover our best form - Ramos pleased for Real Madrid fans|
|City bought Guardiola four full-backs! - Mourinho aims dig at Man Utd transfer policy|
|Valverde ´not frustrated´ amid De Jong & Vela links|
|Championship Review: Leaders Leeds beaten at Stoke as Villa end Hull run|
|Bournemouth rode their luck, admits Howe|
|Barca boss Valverde calls for clarity on RFEF rules|
|Bears rack up 107 points in routing Enisei en route to quarter-finals|
|Paris Saint-Germain 9 Guingamp 0: Verratti injured for rampant champions|
|Solskjaer: I´ll remember managing United for the rest of my life|
|Palace win a ´massive relief´ for Liverpool boss Klopp|
|Salah fourth fastest to 50 goals in Premier League history|
|Real Madrid 2 Sevilla 0: Solari´s side take over third spot|
|Watford 0 Burnley 0: Wood denied winner by contentious call|
|Liverpool 4 Crystal Palace 3: Salah reaches 50 thanks to Speroni shocker|
|Newcastle United 3 Cardiff City 0: Schar double moves hosts out of bottom three|
|Southampton 2 Everton 1: In-form Saints steer clear of trouble|
|Bournemouth 2 West Ham 0: Wilson and King sink Pellegrini´s men|
|Manchester United 2 Brighton and Hove Albion 1: Record-breaking win for Solskjaer|
|Pelicans star Anthony Davis out for one to two weeks with sprained finger|
|Verratti hobbles off for PSG against Guingamp|
|Brook ponders next move after missing out on Khan|
|Mick Schumacher: The Ferrari academy graduates who made it to F1|
|Thailand v China: Lippi aims to overcome War Elephants and reach last eight|
|I deserved red card, says Wolves boss Nuno|
|Mick Schumacher joins Ferrari Driver Academy|
|Jared Goff not worried about Superdome noise: ´When it´s loud, we love it´|
|Rooney urged Rashford to run at defenders|
|Former Springbok Lambie retires from rugby aged 28|
|Spygate: EFL confirms 11 clubs have made contact about Leeds|
|When it´s loud, we love it - Goff ready for New Orleans noise|
|Wolves 4 Leicester City 3: Jota hat-trick drama piles pressure on Puel|
|´Asparagus´ Zverev joins frustrated Djokovic in round four|
|Lowry takes Abu Dhabi title at the last after ding-dong Sterne battle|
|Rooney: United should go "all out" for Pochettino|
|Djokovic frustrated by ´unnecessary´ Australian Open floodlights|
|Jordan v Vietnam: Park expecting ´aggressive´ encounter|