Bayern Munich opened up a four-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga table thanks to their 1-0 win over SV Werder Bremen at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.
It was actually Florian Kohfeldt's Bremen who started the better of the two sides in Bavaria, causing problems in the final third through the pace of Milot Rashica and leaving Bayern Munich without a chance of note until beyond the 20th minute.
Serge Gnabry was denied the opening goal due to Jiří Pavlenka's quick reflexes at his near post, but the hosts struggled to create any other clear goalscoring chances for the remainder of the first half.
It was much of the same after the break, but the game suddenly turned on its head when defender Miloš Veljković was sent off for a second bookable offence just before the hour mark.
Thomas Müller sent a close-range header inches past the post as Bayern continued to push for the opening goal, while substitute Leon Goretzka couldn't convert at the far post from a corner.
It looked like it was going to be one of those days for Bayern as chance after chance went begging, but they finally found their way through when Niklas Süle's long-range effort took a wicked deflection before rolling past the wrong-footed Pavlenka.
Lewandowski went on to hit the crossbar in Bayern's search for a second goal, and although they couldn't double their lead in the last few minutes, Werder Bremen's tame attacking ensured Kovac's side were able to see out the match with relative ease.
Key Talking Point
It was far from vintage Bayern Munich on Saturday, made all the more surprising given their outstanding form over the last few weeks.
The Bavarians struggled to find a way through Werder Bremen's lines throughout the match, and even when they did, goalkeeper Jiří Pavlenka was on hand to keep the likes of Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski from finding the back of the net.
Even when Bremen were reduced to ten men, Bayern struggled to make the extra man count as Kohfeldt's's side looked to shut up shop, relying on a heavily deflected shot from their centre back to eventually find a way past Pavlenka.
Starting XI: Ulreich (4), Kimmich (6), Süle (7), Boateng (6), Alaba (6); Thiago (7), Martinez (7), Müller (6); Gnabry (9*), Coman (7), Lewandowski (7).
Substitutes: Goretzka (6), Ribéry (7), Sanches (N/A).
STAR MAN - There was little to no invention from the majority of Bayern Munich's attacking players, but Germany international winger Serge Gnabry took the game by the scruff of its neck and looked to make things happen for Niko Kovac's side.
Gnabry is 100000x better than Coman— Khal (@KhalidBrahh) April 20, 2019
Serge Gnabry balling— Elliot Afuah (@luckyleftyfrik) April 20, 2019
The 23-year-old drove Bayern Munich throughout the game and offered a constant threat on the right wing, combining well with Lewandowski and Joshua Kimmich to keep Bremen's defensive players on their toes.
For all of Gnabry's work, their win ended up coming thanks to a freak goal, but it was the former Arsenal star's hard work which helped keep Bayern Munich in charge of the game and it gave them the platform to snatch all three points.
Starting XI: Pavlenka (9), Gebre Selassie (6), Veljković (3), Moisander (6), Augustinsson (7); Eggestein (7), Şahin (7), Klaassen (6), Möhwald (6); Rashica (9), Kruse (7).
Substitutes: Langkamp (6), Osako (6), Pizarro (6).
Both sides will face each other once again in midweek in the DFB-Pokal, where Werder Bremen are unbeaten in their last 37 cup matches at the Weser-stadion.