Bayern Munich swept aside 10-man RB Leipzig for the second time in a week to land an important blow in the race for the Bundesliga title.
Bayern needed penalties to defeat Leipzig in Wednesday’s DFB Pokal clash but this time eased to a 2-0 win, with James Rodriguez and Robert Lewandowski on target, and now sit three points clear at the top.
In midweek Naby Keita saw red and this time it was Willi Orban dismissed after just 10 minutes, Leipzig’s third dismissal in four games against the German champions.
By the time Jupp Heynckes’ side kicked off at the Allianz Arena, rivals Borussia Dortmund had already been beaten by Hannover and seeing off Leipzig cemented a considerable power grab at the top of the table.
Bayern, still without the injured Kingsley Coman, were already dominating possession when Orban tangled with last man Arjen Robben and earned a red card for his trouble.
Robben almost doubled down on the punishment, whipping the resulting free kick goalwards only for Peter Gulacsi to make the save.
Ralph Hasenhuttl declined to plug the gap in his defence but the gamble did not pay off. Less than 10 minutes had passed since the sending off when Robben raced down the touchline and squared for Rodriguez in the centre.
The Colombia international beat a pair of white shirts to the ball and sent a first-time effort into the top corner.
That goal cost Timo Werner his place on the pitch, the forward sacrificed for Ibrahima Konate.
Even that was not enough to contain Bayern, Lewandowski seeing a firm header saved by Gulacsi before adding his name to the scoresheet in the 38th minute.
Javi Martinez was the provider this time, slicing the away side open with a brilliant pass that deserved the measured finish the Poland striker provided.
It was Lewandowski’s last contribution, with an injury ending his participation moments before the interval.
Hasenhuttl made his second change during the break, with the incoming Bruma working goalkeeper Sven Ulreich almost immediately.
David Alaba was making the most of the extra space to push forward for Bayern but their cutting edge was somewhat dulled as crosses failed to reach their target and possession petered out before the final ball.
Rodriguez was the liveliest presence in the closing stages, failing with a couple of speculative efforts and teeing up Thiago Alcantara to no avail.
Robben and Martinez also came up short as Bayern looked to add to Leipzig’s woes, though any chance of the hosts being made to pay were virtually non-existent.