Filippo Inzaghi struck twice at the Olympiastadion to take his UEFA Champions League haul this season to seven and leave FC Bayern München facing elimination as AC Milan picked up their third straight Group G victory.
Inzaghi opened the scoring in a frantic period at the start of the second half, only for Claudio Pizarro to hit back for Bayern 90 seconds later. The Italy striker then headed the winner with six minutes to go. A similar result between the two sides at the San Siro later this month could see Bayern, the 2001 champions, crash out at the first hurdle.
Ottmar Hitzfeld had announced that only a win would be enough for his side, and Bayern responded accordingly, pushing forward from the start and enjoying much of the possession. But Bayern were unable to make an impression in the final third against a Milan defence marshalled by the impressive Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini.
Indeed, despite failing to gain a foothold in midfield, it was the Italian side that came closest to breaking the deadlock on nine minutes when only the outstretched leg of Jens Jeremies prevented Rivaldo's cut-back from the left from reaching Inzaghi six metres from goal.
Bayern continued to run the show from midfield, but without troubling the Milan rearguard. Hasan Salimhamidzic and Michael Ballack both tested Dida from distance, but not until the 34th minute did the home side come close. Giovane Elber headed the ball into the path of Ballack who unleashed a fierce volley that Dida tipped away low to his right.
Milan break through
Milan weathered the storm and almost went ahead moments before the break. Rui Costa broke down the left and squared the ball back for Rivaldo, only for the alert Michael Tarnat to pick the ball off the Brazilian's toes. It was a warning that for all Bayern's possession Milan remained the greater threat and Inzaghi proved the point seven minutes after the interval. Rivaldo played a one-two with Clarence Seedorf in the Bayern area and the Dutchman crossed low for Inzaghi to touch the ball in.
Bayern hit back
Bayern hit back immediately. Just 90 seconds later Salihamidzic beat his marker down the right and chipped a cross into the centre for Pizarro to head into the net. The game was now being played at a frantic pace with defences at both ends stretched. Ballack drove hard from the edge of the area on 65 minutes but once again Dida saved well.
Then, with six minutes to play, Inzaghi delivered the killer blow. Substitute Serginho was released down the left and he picked out Inzaghi who headed past Kahn at the near post. Bayern threw bodies forward and Elber shot wide from close range late on, but it was Dida who had the final word, once again denying Ballack with a finger-tip save from the midfield player's free-kick to leave Bayern on the brink.