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.
15 de noviembre 2018
|Thiem blasts past Nishikori to keep semi-final hopes alive|
|He´s always got time for me – Gerrard loved learning from Liverpool boss Klopp|
|Kearney and Ringrose return for All Blacks clash|
|Molinari on course for Race to Dubai title, Smith and Otaegui lead|
|Premier League to implement VAR from 2019-20 season|
|FSF urges Premier League clubs to reject Scudamore ´golden handshake´ request|
|Rhinos pull off Merrin coup|
|Ribery apologises for reporter altercation|
|Ford to captain much-changed England, Cokanasiga starts|
|Crotty replaces injured Williams for Ireland showdown|
|Classy Roshen gives Sri Lanka unlikely lead|
|Injured Lukaku out of Belgium-Iceland Nations League clash|
|Rooney ´passionate´ about future coaching career|
|Mehidy spins Tigers to victory despite second Taylor hundred|
|Rooney deserves special England day - Antonio|
|LeBron thinks back to his roots after latest milestone|
|Messi to return for Argentina next year - General manager Burruchaga|
|Walton salutes LeBron after he surpasses Chamberlain|
|Croatia´s Dalic and Modric not out for Spain revenge|
|Rondo to miss ´a few weeks´ with broken hand|
|Gabi, Juanfran hopeful over Oblak´s Atletico future|
|England rookie Wilson not comparing himself to Kane|
|WATCH: The baskets that moved LeBron James up the all-time NBA scoring list|
|LeBron moves into fifth on scoring list, 76ers fall in Butler´s debut|
|LeBron James into top five NBA scorers: Five quotes from league legends on his greatness|
|LeBron passes Chamberlain for fifth on all-time scoring list|
|Butler: 76ers need time to gel|
|South Africa lose 28-9 in Windies defeat|
|Delph impressed by ´special´ Sancho|
|Bolt may give up on football career despite ´a lot of offers´|
|We´re better than Dortmund – Wagner urges Bayern to respond|
|Raptors fans give former coach Casey standing ovation in return|
|Martinez hails Hazard leadership|
|Muller going through ´difficult´ period, says Low|
|Betances wants Yankees to sign Machado|
|Rays´ Snell, Mets´ deGrom win Cy Young Awards|
|Dinwiddie to debut Stan Lee-inspired shoes against Heat|
|Iberostar Tenerife and Segafredo Virtus Bologna stay perfect in BCL|
|Rooney wanted to finish career at Manchester United|
|Red Sox give manager Cora contract extension through at least 2021|
|WATCH: Ronnie O´Sullivan hits blue with calamitous break-off shot|
14 de noviembre 2018
|Matuidi: Mbappe has a great personality, like Ronaldo, Messi and Zlatan|
|Cilic beats Isner to hand Djokovic semi-final spot|
|Mendy undergoes knee surgery|
|Warriors´ Curry will not play during three-game road trip|
|Ramos refuses to retaliate after Lovren jibe|
|Qatar pull off shock win over Switzerland|
|Tuilagi could make England return against Australia|
|Rooney has earned England reward - Sarachan|
|Croatia thrashing means nothing now – Luis Enrique|
|Chelsea and Everton among Arnautovic suitors, claims agent|
|TJ Watt hopes to win NFL sacks race with brother JJ|
|Modric defends Ramos after Lovren comments|
|Southgate hails ´outstanding´ Delph as he talks up England strength in depth|
|No war with Manchester United over Fellaini, insists Martinez|
|Rooney to wear number 10 shirt against USA and receive armband from Delph|
|I don´t feel pressure of Liverpool expectations, claims Klopp|
|Steelers´ Roethlisberger texted Bell but ´didn’t hear back´|
|Reus and Kroos to sit out Germany´s clash with Russia|
|Van Dijk happy to recommend De Ligt if Liverpool ask|
|Sauber announce launch of junior programme|
|No ´breathtaking tennis´ in Djokovic´s win against Zverev|
|Curran: England spinners will be key in Kandy|
|Djokovic charges past Zverev to move closer to ATP Finals progression|
|Messi is a football alien - Malcom|
|Sky´s the limit for Sancho, says Dortmund team-mate Pulisic|
|Radwanska retires from tennis at 29|
|Maybe one day - Pulisic open to Premier League move|
|Suso ´proud´ of Real Madrid speculation but happy at AC Milan|
|Betis president convinced Lo Celso will stay|