Bayern Munich returned to winning ways and the top of the table in the Bundesliga with a hard-fought 1-0 triumph at home to struggling Arminia Bielefeld in Saturday's Topspiel.
Julian Nagelsmann vehemently stressed the need for his Bayern side 'to be ready from the start' against Bielefeld, but watched on as Die Roten were frustrated by their compact visitors in a goalless first half.
Thomas Muller found himself on the end of several opportunities as Bayern boasted a suffocating share of more than 75% possession before the interval. Bayern's self-styled Raumdeuter (space interpreter) had an early header hooked off the line before failing to catch a volley inside the box.
For all the hosts' dizzying interchanging of position in open play, Robert Lewandowski wasted one of their best chances which came from a corner, as he steered a header over the bar from close range half an hour in.
Bayern almost broke the deadlock with a stunning sequence of surgical incision within seconds of the restart. Slicing through the centre of Bielefeld with a flurry of one-touch passes that teed Leroy Sane up for a shot toed a whisker past the post.
Muller and Sane both conspired to fluff their lines inside the penalty area as Bayern began the second half in a frenzy.
Jamal Musiala, thrust onto the pitch just hours after leaving quarantine as a second half substitute, threaded a pass between the lines to Muller as the game ticked into its final 20 minutes. Bayern's two chief culprits of wastefulness combined on the edge of the box, as Muller teed up Sane for a venomous shot into the top corner to finally break the deadlock.
With Bielefeld scarcely offering any threat on the counter - they failed to aim a single shot on target - Bayern's record-breaking 102 league goal of 2021 was enough for the victory, which saw them leapfrog Borussia Dortmund at the table's summit.
Bayern Munich player ratings
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Manuel Neuer (GK) - 6/10 - Scarcely called into action with his gloves or boots.
Benjamin Pavard (RB) - 6/10 - Tucking in almost as an auxiliary centre back when Bayern were on the ball, the World Cup winner wisely left the attempts at incision to his teammates.
Dayot Upamecano (CB) - 8/10 - Up against the physically imposing but hardly fleet-footed Fabian Klos, Upamecano easily outstripped the lumbering striker for pace and thanks to his superb reading of the game.
Lucas Hernandez (CB) - 5/10 - At times a little too eager to step in and win possession back, the France international was caught on the wrong side of the ball on multiple occasions.
Alphonso Davies (LB) - 7/10 - Having rapidly established he had the beating of every black shirt unfortunate enough to find themselves in his way, Bayern's 'Roadrunner' mercilessly ferreted forward at every given opening but struggled to find the final pass.
Corentin Tolisso (CM) - 5/10 - Dropping deeper than his pivot partner in an attempt to spray the penetrative passes the isolating Joshua Kimmich excels at, with much less success.
Leon Goretzka (CM) - 5/10 - Intermittently burst beyond Bayern's number nine to add yet another slip of red in Bielefeld's already crowded box. Sacrificed after ten second half minutes to a mix reception from the sparse crowd.
Thomas Muller (AM) - 6/10 - Floating around the pitch with his unique license to roam, Muller repeatedly sniffed out chances without taking them.
Kingsley Coman (RW) - 7/10 - Holding his width high on the right hand side, Coman was a constant outlet, practically running through Bielefeld's beleaguered left-back, Andres Andrade.
Robert Lewandowski (ST) - 5/10 - Unusually restricted to the fringes for much of the contest.
Leroy Sane (LW) - 7/10 - Drifting infield to combine as a second number ten, Bayern's actual number ten squandered some gaping openings before converting the toughest with his last touch.
Jamal Musiala (CM) - 8/10 - Played his role in the long-awaited opener, adding a more feathered touch from deeper in place of Goretzka's energy.
Serge Gnabry (LW) - 6/10
Niklas Sule (CB) - N/A