MUNICH — Jupp Heynckes maintained his perfect start to his return to Bayern Munich after his team beat 10-man Leipzig 2-0 to top the Bundesliga as Borussia Dortmund’s slump also continued on Saturday.
First-half goals from James Rodriguez and Robert Lewandowski gave Bayern the victory which sent it three points clear of Dortmund, which lost at Hannover 4-2.
Leipzig, which played most of the match with 10 men after Willi Orban’s dismissal, remained third, four points behind Bayern.
Bayern visits Dortmund next weekend.
Heynckes, who steered Bayern to the treble of the Champions League, Bundesliga, and German Cup in his last stint in charge in 2013, has won all five of his matches since replacing the sacked Carlo Ancelotti.
“Our preparation was ideal,” he said. “If you’re reduced to 10 men after 14 minutes, as Leipzig was, it’s a disadvantage. My team controlled the match and were clever. We could have scored one more goal, but it was more important to be disciplined in defense and take no risks. I really liked it.”
Heynckes’ winning run included a penalty shootout victory in the German Cup on Wednesday at Leipzig, which was keen for revenge in Munich.
“We’ve seen too many red cards this year. We could have gone home at halftime,” Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuettl said. “We focused on containing our opponents then and rested the lads we need on Wednesday (in the Champions League). If you see two red cards against Bayern within a few days it gets hard from a mental point of view.”
In midweek Naby Keita saw red and this time it was Orban dismissed after less than 13 minutes, Leipzig’s third dismissal in four games against the German champion.
Orban was shown a straight red for bringing down Arjen Robben when he was the last man.
Bayern took the lead just 10 minutes later when James drilled Robben’s low cross past Peter Gulacsi.
Lewandowski doubled Bayern’s advantage five minutes before the break following a defense-splitting pass from Javi Martinez.
That was to be the Poland international’s last contribution as he was taken off with a thigh injury on the stroke of halftime.
Heynckes was confident Lewandowski will be fit by Tuesday for the Champions League match at Celtic. “It isn’t so bad,” Heynckes said.
HERO TO VILLAIN
Dortmund knew it would end the weekend off the top of the league after losing at Hannover, in a match in which defender Dan-Axel Zagadou was sent off.
Jonathas gave Hannover the lead from the penalty spot after 20 minutes and set up Ihlas Bebou for the second after Zagadou volleyed in an equalizer.
Andriy Yarmolenko made it 2-2 early in the second half before Zagadou was sent off for bringing down Jonathas. Hannover quickly made its extra man count as Felix Klaus scored from the resulting free kick.
Bebou sealed the points late on for Hannover, which moved up to fourth, five points behind Bayern.
Dortmund has won only one of its last five matches in all competitions.
Hoffenheim missed out on the chance to close within a point of Dortmund as it lost at home to Borussia Monchengladbach 3-1. Hoffenheim led after 25 minutes but the visitors turned the match on its head in the second half with three goals.
It was a similar story at Bayer Leverkusen, which beat winless Cologne 2-1 after the visiting team took an early lead. Leverkusen equalized in the second half and Sven Bender scored what proved to be the winner.
Schalke slipped to fifth after Divock Origi’s stoppage-time equalizer earned Wolfsburg a 1-1 draw.
Hamburg remained in the bottom three after losing at Hertha Berlin 2-1.