(CNN) -- Franck Ribery was given his marching orders but 10-man Bayern Munich beat FC Cologne 3-0 Friday night to make sure they will head Germany's Bundesliga going into the mid-winter break.
French international star Ribery saw red for a second yellow card just after the half hour mark at the Allianz Arena.
But undaunted, goals from Mario Gomez, substitute David Alaba and Toni Kroos sealed three points for Jupp Heynckes' men.
Champions Borussia Dortmund can close the gap to three points at the halfway point of the season if they win at Freiburg Saturday.
Bayern's victory hopes were dealt a blow as Ribery was cautioned twice in a minute but took the lead early in the second half when the prolific Mario Gomez claimed his 16th goal in 16 league games after being set up by Thomas Mueller.
Cologne, who have struggling in the lower part of the table, failed to make an impression against 10 men and Alaba, who replaced Mueller, doubled Bayern's lead just after the hour mark as he smashed a rebound home.
The lively Alaba set up Kroos for the decisive third in the closing moments as Cologne, whose own star striker Lukas Podolski was kept quiet, slumped to a dismal defeat.
In other football news Friday, Cameroon handed a 15-game ban to their African Footballer of the Year Samuel Eto'o for his part in a players' strike which forced a friendly fixture in Algeria last month to be called off.
The punishment was announced on the official website of the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT).
Former Barcelona and Inter Milan star Eto'o, now plying his trade in Russia, led his teammates in protest against unpaid fees ahead of the match.
He has two weeks to appeal the ban which would rule him out of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.