Tim Borowski's late leveller took FC Bayern München a step closer to the UEFA Champions League knockout stage and left ACF Fiorentina's hopes hanging by a thread after a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Adrian Mutu's eleventh-minute volley put the Italian side on course for their first victory in Group F, and they held Bayern at bay until 12 minutes from time when the pressure finally told with Borowski equalising. The outcome left the German team needing a maximum of two points from their last two matches to advance; Fiorentina must win both and hope other results go their way.
The two clubs had promised an open game and so it proved in the feisty early exchanges when Alberto Gilardino looked for a gap in the Bayern defence and Franck Ribéry tried to get things moving for the German titleholders. However, the first real chance fell to Fiorentina in the eleventh minute and Mutu took it brilliantly. Right-back Luciano Zauri floated a high ball into the box, Gilardino leapt to get the faintest of touches and the Romanian international smashed an unstoppable volley past Michael Rensing.
Bayern's rearguard, marshalled by Lucio and Martín Demichelis, were clearly struggling with Fiorentina's aerial threat and they were fortunate not to fall further behind midway through the half. Rensing pulled off a spectacular save to deny Gilardino's glancing header from Massimo Gobbi's left-wing cross, and then blocked another effort by the Italian international, this time after Mario Alberto Santana had swung a dangerous ball over from the opposite flank.
Bayern refused to be cowed and began to turn the screw before the break. Lukas Podolski's shot from deep inside the Viola area was charged down and Bastian Schweinsteiger could only smack his volley wide of the target as the Bundesliga outfit pressed for an equaliser. Schweinsteiger had an even better opportunity four minutes before half-time when Bayern surged forward in numbers, but blasted his angled attempt wide of Sébastien Frey's post.
Both sides came out all guns blazing for the second period, producing gilt-edged openings at either end. Felipe sent a defence-splitting pass straight down the middle for Gilardino, yet the Fiorentina striker could only loop the ball agonisingly over the bar as Rensing came charging out. There was a similarly close shave for Frey minutes later when Podolski whipped in a wicked low centre from the left and Miroslav Klose prodded wide with the goal at his mercy.
A passionate home crowd made sure the atmosphere stayed electric and they were nearly celebrating a second goal for Mutu before the hour. Midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanović chipped in a cross from the right yet the forward sent his header over from six metres. Despite the pressure Bayern were still very much in the game and Frey was called upon to make a one-handed stop at full stretch in the 67th minute after Podolski had galloped through on the counterattack. Bayern did not have long to wait, though, Borowski breaking into the box to draw the visitors level with a low drive.