Champions League Classics: Bayern 2-3 Inter

Watch a famous comeback success in full on UEFA.tv – and get the background here.

Goran Pandev and Samuel Eto'o celebrate a famous victory
Goran Pandev and Samuel Eto'o celebrate a famous victory

Holders Inter faced the side they had beaten in the 2010 UEFA Champions League final in the following season's round of 16; after winning 1-0 in Milan, Bayern looked to be on course for revenge.

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Context

Profiting from a goalkeeping error, Mario Gomez struck in the last minute of the first leg at San Siro to give Bayern a 1-0 win, which seemed like a massive blow for reigning European champions Inter – whose progress from the group stage had been underpinned by a 100% home record. The Nerazzurri had conceded eight in their previous three UEFA away games (a draw and two defeats) and were up against a side that had never lost a European tie after taking a first-leg lead. No contest, surely.

Great goals: 2010/11 Champions League
Great goals: 2010/11 Champions League

Key players

Samuel Eto'o: The Cameroonian went into 2010/11 having scored for the winning team in the past two UEFA Champions League finals – Barcelona in 2009 and Inter in 2010. His seven goals in the competition coming into the round of 16 decider augured well.

Mario Gomez: A German-record signing from Stuttgart in 2009, 'Goal-mez' had a quiet first term in Munich but hit a rich vein of form in his second; he approached the Inter rematch on seven UEFA Champions League goals for 2010/11, and was on his way to a career-best 28 in the Bundesliga.

Watch great Bayern goals
Watch great Bayern goals

Goran Pandev: Quick, creative and skilful, the Macedonian footballing great tended to operate as a winger or supporting striker. He scored in the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup final against TP Mazembe, but was accustomed to playing a supporting role.

What happened

Eto'o notched his eighth goal of the European campaign inside four minutes, but Bayern looked to have spiked Inter's guns by the interval; Gomez replied in kind, with his eighth goal of the season, then Thomas Müller made it 3-1 on aggregate.

Inter appeared a spent force as the second half started, Júlio César making a fine save to stop Gomez scoring again, but the tone of the game altered fundamentally when Wesley Sneijder drove in Inter’s second of the night just after the hour. The hosts looked spooked, and Pandev passed up one good chance to put his side ahead on away goals before finishing off an Eto’o pass two minutes from time to steer Inter through.

Five great Inter goals
Five great Inter goals

Reaction

Leonardo, Inter coach: "It is very difficult to explain this game – we won, that's all that matters. We never give up. The European champions are still standing."

Wesley Sneijder, Inter midfielder: "We always believed we could win, and I think we deserved to in the end."

Goran Pandev, Inter forward: "The goal was the most important of my career. [Samuel] Eto'o gave me a great ball – I only had to slot it in, I couldn’t miss. He was the decisive factor tonight with one goal and two assists."

Pandev and Eto'o enjoyed a prosperous partnership
Pandev and Eto'o enjoyed a prosperous partnership©Getty Images

Mario Gomez, Bayern forward: "It wasn't Inter's good work, it was our stupidity. It's so frustrating to have played so well for 60 minutes, but then we just tried to keep them out. We should have continued playing calmly."

Elsewhere that evening

Javier Hernández picked a great time to score his first Manchester United goals, registering twice as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side beat Marseille 2-1 at Old Trafford – building on a 0-0 first-leg draw in France. The Mexican and his strike partner Wayne Rooney drew praise from manager Sir Alex: "Wayne's a real threat because he's got such power and speed with the ball. Hernandez is unbelievable." 'Chicharito' added: "I am in the best side in the world."

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Aftermath

Louis van Gaal left Bayern in April 2011
Louis van Gaal left Bayern in April 2011©Getty Images

Inter managed to get themselves out of trouble in the last 16 but bit off more than they could chew in the next round. They took the lead against Schalke in the first minute of their quarter-final first leg but lost 5-2 on the night at San Siro, also yielding 2-1 in the return leg. Leonardo's brief reign ended that June, not long after leading Inter to a Coppa Italia final success – their only trophy of his tenure.

Gomez's goalscoring form was one of few genuine positives in what was a disappointing season for Bayern. Following their UEFA Champions League exit, Louis van Gaal's team lost to Schalke in the German Cup semis and finished third in the Bundesliga – ten points behind title winners Dortmund. An improvement was expected for 2011/12, when Munich would be hosting the UEFA Champions League final.