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FC Bayern München take a 1-0 lead back to the Fußball Arena München after Mario Gomez stunned UEFA Champions League holders FC Internazionale Milano with an 90th-minute winner.
After a multitude of chances at both ends, a breathless match seemed destined to end goalless when Júlio César spilled Arjen Robben's shot into the path of Gomez, who tucked in his seventh goal of the competition. They may not have revenge in mind following last season's showpiece defeat, but the German side can start dreaming of a quarter-final place at the Italian titleholders' expense this time around. First, though, is the second leg on 15 March.
It is no foregone conclusion as this result was hard on the hosts, repeatedly denied by the excellent Thomas Kraft. They could have taken the lead inside two minutes when Andrea Ranocchia spurned the chance to mark his UEFA Champions League debut after ghosting in at the far post. The Italy defender was soon in more familiar territory, arresting the danger at the other end.
If his crunching tackles on Franck Ribéry and Gomez set the tone for a hard-fought contest, Luiz Gustavo's two long-range strikes in as many minutes, which both flew just wide, marked an open one. Inter retaliated with a counterattack of their own, as Samuel Eto'o cut the ball back for Esteban Cambiasso to force a fine save out of Kraft from close range.
Bayern came forward again, the vaunted Robben-Ribéry partnership combining for the latter to head the former's inviting cross flush against the crossbar on 23 minutes. The game was end to end, with Bayern's swashbuckling approach offering Inter the chance to counterattack. No sooner had Gomez skied Philipp Lahm's low centre over than the visitors had Kraft to thank for a reflex save to keep out Eto'o's wonderful left-footed shot.
Inter might have been ahead on the stroke of half-time after Maicon raced on to Dejan Stanković's through ball, but the right-back blazed wide rather than seek out the supporting runners. In the first move of the second period Thomas Müller weakly glanced another cross from the irrepressible Robben wide of the far post.
The Dutchman's pace and skill was causing Inter no end of problems and he showcased both on 53 minutes, leaving a trail of defenders in his wake before striking Júlio César's near post. True to form, the Nerazzurri responded in kind, Kraft again denying Eto'o only for Cambiasso to find the Curva Sud when it seemed easier to score. Supporters, let alone the players, were struggling to draw breath.
Kraft was soon called into action again, repelling an angled drive from substitute Houssine Kharja and in the latter stages Inter desperately sought the goal that eluded them. Sneijder's free-kick narrowly missed, Thiago Motta's powerful header was clutched by Kraft and Eto'o's shot through a crowd deflected wide. Then, after Robben tried his luck from range, Gomez supplied the sucker punch.
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