Corentin Tolisso was back under the spotlight on Saturday evening, securing Jupp Heynckes another three points to round off a perfect first week back in the job for the Bayern Munich coach, and prove that he knows how to deliver when it matters.
Bayern's French midfielder was given a chance to show Heynckes what he can do in the sold-out Volksparkstadion, and he gave his second Bayern boss since arriving in the summer some food for thought with the winning goal in a 1-0 win.
Having been left out of Bayern's 5-0 win over Freiburg, where the 23-year-old appeared only briefly late on, and spending 90 minutes on the bench in the 3-1 Champions League win over Celtic in midweek, Tolisso took his chance to impress alongside Arturo Vidal in a position Heynckes had reserved for Javi Martinez during his treble-winning year, but is now keen to fill in a variety of ways.
After a challenging first 45 minutes – for Tolisso and his team-mates – the Frenchman worked his way through the gears in the second half to deliver the points.
"We struggled to find a rhythm in a pretty disjointed first half," noted Heynckes. "It's always hard when you play a HSV side who, in my opinion, fought outstandingly today, but we did better in the second half and had plenty of gilt-edged chances late on which we unfortunately didn't take."
Fortunately for him, though, Tolisso had already converted Thomas Müller's pass to make it 1-0. That was one of his 87 touches in the second half, as he led Bayern's recover by example. His second goal of the season was nearly followed by a third as he headed against the post in the 83rd minute, almost crowning an eye-catching 45 minutes with a brace.
Almost 90 per cent of his passes found their man, while Tolisso covered more ground (11.23km) than any of his team-mates. His first shot found the back of the net, yet he was not altogether satisfied either.
"The Dortmund result in the afternoon had given us a boost, but it was a very complicated game for us in Hamburg," said Tolisso. "We weren't able to play football the way we are used to, and we had a few lapses of concentration, while we lacked tempo."
What they did get, though, were three points which, following Dortmund's stumble, allowed them to draw level with the Westphalians, whom they were trailing by five points when Heynckes took charge. They can now go into a crucial few weeks of games in confident mood with the coach aware he has other options for the defensive midfield positions which provide such crucial stability to his team.
It is both stability and perhaps vitality which he is going to need for a packed schedule which includes a trip to RB Leipzig in the DFB Cup on Wednesday, before another meeting with the third-placed side in the Bundesliga at the Allianz Arena next weekend.
"We're all looking forward to these games," said Mats Hummels. "They're going to be really amazing. Leipzig have such quality and they play an intense pressing game. We're going to have to be alert from the beginning."
Bayern then travel to Glasgow to face Celtic before heading to arch-rivals Dortmund the following weekend, and Arjen Robben, who wore the captain's armband on Saturday, knows how big all of the upcoming games are going to be, putting it succinctly: "If you lose, you're gone – it's as simple as that."
Watch: Robben praises Hamburg's fighting qualities
With Tolisso delivering in the pressure cooker of a big game on Saturday, however, Bayern can be confident going into the first round of pivotal fixtures of the season, with the Frenchman showing he is another player who Heynckes can rely on at this time of need.