Bayern Munich's Serge Gnabry scored twice against his former club Werder Bremen to seal a 2-1 Bundesliga away win on Saturday and help ease the pressure on coach Niko Kovac.
Bayern moved up to third after 13 games but remain nine points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund after they fashioned a 2-0 home win over Freiburg thanks to a Marco Reus penalty and another Paco Alcacer goal from the bench.
Dortmund have a seven-point cushion over second-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach, who travel to RB Leipzig on Sunday before fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt host Wolfsburg.
In Saturday's other matches, VfB Stuttgart jumped three places off the bottom following a 1-0 home win over Augsburg and Hertha Berlin prevailed 2-0 at Hanover.
Hosts Hoffenheim drew 1-1 with Schalke in a late game peppered with controversial penalty calls involving the video assistant.
Fans across the Bundesliga protested over Monday matches during the first half of games by refusing to sing and by holding up banners.
Winger Gnabry, starting for Bayern because Arjen Robben was only fit enough for the bench, first pounced on 20 minutes after his first attempt had been saved.
The video assistant deemed the winger to have been onside from Joshua Kimmich's clever pass.
Bremen then hit back on 33 minutes when Max Kruse was allowed to cross for Yuya Osako to nod home.
The ball struck Manuel Neuer on the way in and the Germany goalkeeper could arguably have done better, with defender Jerome Boateng also looking at fault.
Gnabry spared their blushes with a lucky strike early in the second half. Bremen defender Niklas Moisander deflected Thomas Mueller's cross onto Gnabry's leg and the ball dribbled into the corner. Moisander was sent off late on for a second booking.
"I liked a lot about our performance and I only have to complain about the missed chances. And in the 10 minutes after we took the lead we defended too passively, otherwise we worked well," said Kovac, who welcomed back Kingsley Coman and Thiago from injury.
Kovac's position as Bayern coach came under scrutiny following last weekend's 3-3 home draw with Fortuna Dusseldorf, the latest in a series of disappointing results which even led club president Uli Hoeness to say "internal discussions" would take place.
The Croatian, in his first season as Bayern coach, boosted his prospects with a 5-1 win over Benfica in the Champions League in midweek which sealed last 16 qualification. But the nervous win in Bremen and more defensive frailty leaves doubts about his future.
Bayern have now not lost to Bremen in 23 outings.
A lethargic Dortmund broke the deadlock at home to Freiburg five minutes before the break after Jadon Sancho had his toes stood on by Dominique Heintz. Reus blasted the spot-kick down the middle and most Dortmund fans cheered for the first time given the protest.
Alcacer then netted late on to become the Bundesliga's top scorer with 10 goals from eight matches played.
"I totally understand people are protesting. I would ban all games on Monday. But I regret the situation because the fans bring us a lot, we need their support," said Favre, whose side are enjoying their best season start in eight years in his first campaign in charge.
Stuttgart recorded only their third win this season thanks to a 39th-minute goal from Anastasios Donis against a toothless Augsburg.
Hertha moved up to seventh after Jordan Torunarigha headed in a corner and Vedad Ibisevic nodded home, leaving Hanover second-bottom.
Hoffenheim's Andrej Kramaric converted from the spot when Bastian Oczipka's questionable handball was ruled a penalty after Schalke had an earlier spotkick for handball chalked off by the referee when he viewed a replay.
Schalke gained some revenge when Ermin Bicakcic was debatably adjudged to have tripped Daniel Caligiuri in the box and Nabil Bentaleb did the rest.
Mainz won 1-0 at now bottom Dusseldorf in Friday's game. Nuremberg play Bayer Leverkusen on Monday.