Two first-half goals from Raúl González and one from Ruud van Nistelrooy gave Real Madrid CF a slender advantage in a vibrant first leg of their UEFA Champions League first knockout round tie with FC Bayern München, whose challenge was revived by Mark van Bommel's late strike.
Raúl gave the home side an early lead with a typically predatory effort and, although Lucio swiftly brought the German champions back to level terms, the Madrid captain headed his team in front before the half-hour. Van Nistelrooy then capitalised on some static Bayern defending to provide the Spanish club with a two-goal cushion. The visitors had the better of the second period, however, and got their reward two minutes from time as a crisp half-volley from Van Bommel halved their aggregate deficit.
Fabio Capello, whose side went into this game with just two goals from their last four Primera División matches, gave UEFA Champions League debuts to Argentinian duo Fernando Gago and Gonzalo Higuaín and the hosts had already launched several forays into the Bayern area by the time they went ahead in the tenth minute. Van Nistelrooy split the away defence with a devastating through-ball and, although Oliver Kahn half-blocked Raúl's attempt to round him, the rebound fell perfectly for the Spanish international to roll his fourth goal of this campaign into the unguarded net.
Bayern had yet to threaten, but through their first dangerous move of the match they equalised 13 minutes later. Willy Sagnol's deep right-wing free-kick was met at the far post by Lucio, who escaped the attentions of Fabio Cannavaro to thump a header beyond the exposed Iker Casillas. It was the Brazilian defender's first UEFA Champions League goal since he registered against Madrid for Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the 2002 final and temporarily it knocked the hosts out of their stride.
Madrid take charge
Both defences were looking vulnerable, however, and another goal arrived five minutes later. Iván Helguera reached David Beckham's right-wing corner with a looping header at the far post and Raúl applied the merest of touches to nod Madrid back in front. The same combination unlocked the Bayern rearguard again eleven minutes before half-time, Helguera flicking on Beckham's free-kick for Van Nistelrooy, who had ghosted in unmarked to beat Kahn from close range.
Beckham continued to play a major role as the second half began, setting Higuaín in on goal only for the 19-year-old to prod straight at Kahn, who then had to dive full length to tip the former England captain's set-piece over the crossbar. The Bundesliga outfit were struggling to cope with Madrid's high tempo, although Capello's men breathed a sigh of relief when Casillas misread the flight of Sagnol's free-kick only for Claudio Pizarro to head against the outside of the post from a tight angle.
Van Bommel delight
The Peruvian striker went close again moments later, unleashing a low drive that Casillas got down quickly to palm away. The visitors' best hope of getting back into the tie appeared to have gone, but in the 88th minute a loose ball fell to Van Bommel on the edge of the box and the Dutchman duly made no mistake to set up an enthralling second leg at the Fußball Arena München on 7 March.