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.
|Australia 0 Uzbekistan 0 (aet, 4-2 on penalties): Ryan heroics see holders hobble onwards|
|Halep exit leaves four-way fight to be crowned number one at Australian Open|
|Super Bowl-bound Rams set for London return, Chiefs to face Chargers in Mexico|
|Huddersfield appoint Siewert as Wagner´s replacement|
|Genoa 0 AC Milan 2: Borini and Suso step up with Higuain left out|
|McTominay signs new Manchester United contract|
|Pizzi to stand down after Saudi Arabia elimination|
|Boateng closing in on shock Barcelona switch - reports|
|Catalans to defend Challenge Cup after resolving RFL dispute|
|Djokovic wears down Medvedev to reach last eight|
|Mouratoglou: I knew ´loyal´ Serena would not fire me after US Open turmoil|
|Barcelona B defender Wague accuses Ejea fans of racist abuse|
|I felt like I had been hit by a train - Halep upbeat despite losing Serena battle|
|Arsenal confirm Mislintat departure|
|Icardi will renew, 100 per cent - Wanda Nara offers latest Inter assurance|
|Japan 1 Saudi Arabia 0: Four-time winners send Pizzi´s men out|
|A souvlaki maybe named after him, a growing fan base – Tsitsipas creating Melbourne buzz|
|Barca winger Dembele out for 15 days|
|Strikers blown away by Hurricanes in Adelaide|
|Ireland lose Beirne for England and Scotland clashes|
|´Innate fighter´ Serena says character key to beating Halep|
|Hudson-Odoi ´an outstanding talent´ - Bayern great Ballack hails Chelsea youngster|
|Scotland call up four as hand injury forces Watson out|
|Serena comes through major Halep battle to reach last eight|
|Better than Rafa? Camacho cameo leaves Klopp unconvinced by transfer options|
|England job ´a privileged position´, says Southgate|
|Emery has confidence in Arsenal outcast Ozil|
|Zverev destroys racquet in Aus Open meltdown|
|From Villarreal to Aus Open quarters – Bautista Agut breaks major duck|
|Brees: I plan on being here next year and making another run at it|
|´Unf******-believable bro!´ - Brady stunned after reaching third straight Super Bowl|
|New England find answers, penalty costs Kansas City – three takeaways from Patriots´ win over Chiefs|
|Donald Trump congratulates Brady and Super Bowl-bound Patriots|
|Rose helps Timberwolves down Suns|
|Brady leads Patriots into third straight Super Bowl|
|Osaka overcomes Sevastova to reach quarters|
|Chelsea remain behind Sarri – David Luiz|
|McVay explains Gurley´s limited role in Rams´ win over Saints|
|Southgate hails ´tremendous talent´ Rashford|
|Long earns maiden PGA Tour win at Desert Classic|
|Flanagan resigns as Sharks head coach|
|Rams´ Robey-Coleman admits he committed penalty on controversial no-call|
|NFL admits they blew the call – Saints coach Payton|
|Terrible no-call, Goff shines – three takeaways from Rams´ win over Saints|
|Lonzo Ball to miss 4-6 weeks with ankle sprain|
|Patterson added to Australia Test squad|
|Zuerlein´s overtime kick sinks Saints and sends Rams to Super Bowl|
|It was a clear goal – Valverde dismisses Barca VAR controversy|
|Rashford can emulate Man United greats Ronaldo and Rooney – Solskjaer|
|Karmichael Hunt swaps Reds for Waratahs|
|Barcelona forward Dembele set for tests on sprained ankle|
|Neymar insists Barcelona and Real Madrid links not ´concrete´|
|England trio Nowell, Slade and Cowan-Dickie sign fresh Exeter deals|
|Windies coach Pybus not distracted by detractors|
|Barcelona 3 Leganes 1: Messi and Suarez combine to spare Barca´s blushes|
|I´m sure Michael would be extremely proud - Vettel hails Mick Schumacher|
|Young plays down injury fears for England trio Launchbury, Shields and Hughes|
|Pochettino: Lucas Moura fit for Chelsea clash|
|Ranieri positive on Fulham survival chances despite ´unbelievable´ Spurs loss|
|United Arab Emirates v Kyrgyzstan: Zaccheroni confident in attack|
|South Korea lose Ki to hamstring injury|
|It doesn´t look great - Pochettino to wait on Alli assessment|
|Messi benched as Barcelona face Leganes|
|Dalglish texts me before matches - Van Dijk|
|Patrick Mahomes could sign NFL´s first $200m contract - reports|
|Iran 2 Oman 0: Jahanbakhsh and Dejagah secure last-eight spot|
|Helloooo u remember me? Nkoudou reminds Spurs fans he exists|
|Japan v Saudi Arabia: Pizzi believes Saudis can upset the odds|
|Repsol Honda´s Lorenzo to have surgery on fractured wrist|
|Fulham 1 Tottenham 2: Winks heads late winner after Alli injury|