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.
|Is Beal better without Wall? Wizards star says it´s ´absolutely nonsense´|
|Rockets C Capela undergoes thumb surgery, expected back after All-Star break|
|This Week in U.S. Sports: Irving apologises, Machado´s agent isn´t happy|
|Knicks in woeful shape, but 2019 could still be bright in New York|
|Valverde not worried about Levante´s Copa appeal|
|Nowell an option for England at flanker, reveals Jones|
|Pellegrini: Arnautovic available for the right price|
|Knicks throw away 19-point lead and lose on last-second goaltending call|
|Tebow invited back to Mets´ major league spring training|
|Canelo and Jacobs agree unification fight|
|Barcelona 3 Levante 0 (4-2 agg): Dembele at the double as Barca advance|
|Levante to lodge complaint over Barcelona Copa selection|
|Kanter´s London absence ´very unfortunate´, says NBA commissioner|
|NBA could swap London for Paris in 2020|
|Spurs coach Popovich uncertain if he will return next season|
|Pistons´ Griffin fined for verbal abuse of official|
|Everton do not have financial conditions to enter transfer market - Silva|
|Andy Cole joins Sol Campbell´s coaching staff at Macclesfield|
|Atletico confirm Saul has thigh injury|
|Wood replaces injured Stone in England squad|
|Lebanon 4 North Korea 1: Disciplinary record cruelly denies Radulovic´s men|
|Saudi Arabia 0 Qatar 2: In-form Ali bags brace as Qatar top group|
|Robertson signs new Liverpool deal|
|Vunipola backs Farrell to thrive in solo leadership role|
|People don´t know what´s going on behind the scenes - Mourinho defends United stint|
|Indefatigable Muguruza knocks out Konta at 3:12am|
|Serena coasts, difficulties for Halep and Muguruza´s marathon|
|Lowry retains Abu Dhabi lead|
|Djokovic battles past Tsonga, young guns flourish|
|Louisville airport to be renamed in Muhammad Ali´s honour|
|Emery not thinking about Ozil speculation|
|Sri Lanka hopeful over Kusal Mendis finger injury|
|Oman 3 Turkmenistan 1: Last-gasp Al-Musallami guarantees progression|
|Emery wants Cech to end career ´in a good moment´|
|Japan 2 Uzbekistan 1: Shiotani stunner seals comeback and top spot|
|Calhanoglu deal ´financially impossible´ for Leipzig|
|Not seen at Aus Open since Nadal, Djokovic and Murray in 2009 – ´Next Gen´ make move|
|Martial: Solskjaer lets me express myself|
|Djokovic sees off Tsonga to reach third round|
|Returning Cousins calls Warriors ´the most hated team in sports´|
|Halep injury ´nothing dangerous´|
|Warner picks up elbow injury in Bangladesh|
|Mkhitaryan returning to Arsenal training next week|
|Leeds United pounce for Real Madrid goalkeeper Casilla|
|Watson lights up Gabba before power cut forces abandonment|
|Superb Serena blows Bouchard away|
|Tevez, Hulk, Oscar, Lavezzi - how the CSL stars Dembele is following to China fared|
|Thiem retires from Australian Open|
|Osaka ´not telling´ when it comes to injury niggle|
|Fabinho enjoying Klopp´s management style|
|Halep battles past Kenin in Melbourne|
|Hartley to miss England´s Six Nations opener|
|Dembele departs Spurs for Guangzhou R&F|
|Nacho convinced Isco remains important to Real Madrid|
|Warriors star Curry sets NBA record|
|Raonic survives four-hour marathon against Wawrinka|
|Osaka powers through to Aus Open third round|
|Irving dominates in Celtics´ win over Raptors|
|Irving called LeBron this week to apologise|
|Ajax star De Jong wants to resolve future ´quickly´|
|Payton on Rams CB Peters: I have great respect for him|
|Rockets star Harden matches Chamberlain with historic performances|
|Nishikori survives Karlovic test in Melbourne|
|Vieira reunion felt really weird - Henry|
|´#BetAgainstUs´ - Edelman and Pats embracing underdog status|
|Van der Vaart: Isco the best player in the world|
|I haven´t seen Guardiola or Klopp do that – Lampard unhappy with Bielsa|
|Real Madrid always play to win, insists Casemiro|
|Royals pitcher Skoglund suspended for 80 games after testing positive for PEDs|
|Ronaldo and Juve celebrate Supercoppa Italiana title with Mayweather|