In what was a welcome return to form, Robert Lewandowski hit a brace as FC Bayern München ended their four-game barren run with a 3:1 win against a toothless VfL Wolfsburg. The Bavarians were reduced to ten men when Arjen Robben was sent off for two bookable offences, but the "crisis" seems to be behind them. For now, at least.
Both coaches would make two changes to the starting elevens that had started match day seven. For FC Bayern, Javi Martínez and Serge Gnabry came in for the benched Leon Goretzka and Thomas Müller, while 'Gladbach coach Dieter Hecking swapped out Yunus Mallı and Marcel Tisserand for Elvis Rexhbecaj und Yannick Gerhardt.
Lewy at the double
Bayern were in command from the start, with chances falling to Gnabry and Lewandowski before Wolves 'keeper Koen Casteels made a fine save from a James Rodríguez free-kick. The Belgian was in fine form, also preventing further efforts from Joshua Kimmich and Arjen Robben.
Bayern were frustrated, but kept plugging away. Right on the half-hour mark, they were rewarded. Mats Hummels pass sliced through the Wolfsburg defence and was dummied smartly by Gnabry, and Lewandowski was on hand to force the ball past Casteels.
Four minutes into the second half, the Polish striker doubled his tally and Bayern's lead. An awful header by defender William was snaffled by the Bayern number nine, who rounded Casteels before tapping home.
Robben sees red, Wolves threaten
Having been booked for a silly dive a minute before the break, Arjen Robben was shown a second yellow card for a soft but obvious challenge on Rexhbecaj. Suddenly, Bayern had put unnecessary pressure back on themselves.
With just over half an hour remaining, they would have to see things through with ten men.
Wolfsburg had offered nothing in attack, but sensed an opportunity. After 63 minutes, they broke swiftly, cutting the Bayern defence with some swift, incisive movement. Sub Admir Mehmedi delivered a telling cross, and Dutchman Wout Weghorst outpaced Kimmich to halve the deficit.
James seals the points
The jittery Bayern of recent weeks may well have folded in the face of a revived and emboldened opponent, but instead they absorbed the pressure and stepped up their own game. With eighteen minutes remaining, Niko Kovač's ten men extended their lead.
After Thiago Alcântara pounced on another defensive Wolfsburg error, Lewandowski turned provider, sending the ball perfectly into the path of James. With a deft swing of his left foot, the Colombian swept the ball into the net, beating Casteels at his near post.
There was even time for the Pole to have another shot on target and complete his hat-trick, but Casteels managed dive low to his right and turn it behind.
After all of the recent criticism, Bayern were back on the winning trail.
You can also check out my more detailed match report on my dedicated FC Bayern München blog, Red Ramblings.
Result: VfL Wolfsburg 1 (Weghorst 63.) FC Bayern München 3 (Lewandowski 30., 49., James 72.)