Mario Gomez scored a last minute winner to put Bayern Munich firmly in control of their last-16 UEFA Champions League tie against Inter Milan today.
The Germans' 1-0 success meant that all three remaining Italian teams in the competition lost their second round home legs and all face the prospect of crashing out at this stage with tougher away games still to come. For Bayern it also went some way to exacting revenge for their Champions League final defeat to Inter in Madrid back in May.
Gomez said his goal was rich reward for Bayern's positive approach to the game. "That was certainly my most important goal in the Champions League," he said. "When you score a goal just before the end, which seals an away win, that is, of course, very nice. We fought for everything, everything at the back, everything up front and we were rewarded at the end."
Bayern almost handed Inter a dream start with some shocking defending in the second minute as Andrea Ranocchia was left alone eight yards out to meet a Wesley Sneijder free-kick but he flicked it wide. The Germans had two quick chances but Lucio blocked a Franck Ribery shot and centre-back partner Ranocchia got in the way of a Thomas Muller effort.
With the Inter defence backing off Luiz Gustavo tried his luck from 25 yards but it flashed just wide. And moments later he had a crack from 30 yards that took a wicked deflection and almost looped into the top corner.
It wasn't all Bayern as briliant work from Samuel Eto'o down the right saw him beat Holger Badstuber and feed the ball inside to Esteban Cambiasso six yards out but Thomas Kraft got out well to block his hurried shot. Eto'o was skinning Badstuber every time and Bayern coach Louis van Gaal acted in the first half, bringing on Brazilian Breno to marshall the speedy Cameroon captain.
Bayern came closest to a first-half goal when an inviting inswinging cross from Arjen Robben on 24 minutes found Ribery stealing across his marker to flick a header onto the bar. Another great move from Bayern saw Robben slip the ball between two defenders for captain Philipp Lahm, whose cross picked out Gomez but he spooned his effort into the night sky.
On 33 minutes a snap-shot on the turn from Eto'o forced Kraft into a diving one-handed save. Late in the half some careless play from Bayern presented a pair of chances to Sneijder and Maicon but neither could capitalise.
Robben created the chance of the match for Muller two minutes after the restart but from inside the six yard box the young German somehow flicked his header wide of the far post. And then on a lightning counter after Inter gave the ball away in midfield, Robben ran across the defence and hit the outside of the post with a right-footed effort.
Bayern were next to give the ball away in a perilous position and after Kraft saved from Eto'o, Cambiasso blazed the follow-up high. Robben also rasped a shot over the bar up the other end while Muller almost found Gomez with a chip over the top.
With ten minutes left Inter had a sniff of goal but Kraft stood up to Houssine Kharja's cross-shot while a deflected Sneijder free-kick then landed on the roof of the net. From the resultant corner Thiago Motta headed straight at Kraft from eight yards and an Eto'o shot was also deflected wide as the hosts suddenly started to push for a winner.
But then in the last minute Julio Cesar, who hadn't made a save of note all night, failed to hold a skimming drive from Robben and Gomez tapped home the rebound.