Bayern Munich's 3-1 win has sent Manchester United out of the Champions League. But the Premier League side scored first after a cagey first half, and Bayern needed a superlative attacking performance to finish them off.
They made it look easy in the end. But Bayern Munich entered the Champions League quarter-final second leg with all the pressure on them - the pundits' consensus was that a knock-out by an underwhelming Manchester United would mean a failed season - record-breaking domestic title or not.
And yet before the game began the Bayern camp insisted they were not concerned. After all, the Premier League side were the ones who needed to score - the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford meant the Bavarians had that precious away goal.
But as the first half progressed, the ghost of the 2012 Champions League final, when Bayern Munich were frustrated by a similarly defensive Chelsea, began haunting the Allianz Arena. The English side ceded the midfield to Bayern, crowded the wings - cramping Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery - and forced the game into the center.
Second half: match comes to life
But of course, the Mancunians still had to score, and they duly opened the game up in the second half, smartly ramping up the pressure against a home side that were flustered for at least 12 minutes. A long-range effort from Shinji Kagawa indicated the Red Devils' intentions, but it was a Valencia run on the right in the 57th minute that ushered in the goal. The ball broke to French defender Patrice Evra, who fired in a glorious and unstoppable half-volley into the top corner.
The lead lasted all of 69 seconds. Ribery, for once getting the better of Phil Jones on the left, fired a perfect cross in that found Mario Mandzukic loitering at the far post. His low header cancelled out the lead.
The tie was back at square one, and the game suddenly ramped up, but it was the home side that made their superior class tell. In the 67th minute, a Ribery cross bounced to Robben, who found the space he had been starved of for the past hour and a bit, and skittered into the area to deliver a low cross to Thomas Müller, who, under pressure from Nemanja Vidic, poked the ball past David de Gea.
Another United goal would still have put Bayern out at this stage, but by now the Chelsea-monkey was well and truly banished from their backs. Robben in particular was rampant, and delivered the goal that killed the game in the 75th minute. Cutting inside from the right - as is his wont - the Dutchman dribbled the ball all the way along the edge of the area before finding the tiny gap he needed - and slammed the ball low into the corner with his lethal left foot. A decisive deflection off the boot of the unfortunate Vidic took the ball away from de Gea.
"I knew it would be difficult," Bayern coach Pep Guardiola said after the game. "It's the quarter-final, it's Manchester with eight man standing in the penalty area. But we were patient. I am very, very proud of this team."
In Wednesday's other quarter-final, Barcelona went crashing out to Atletico Madrid, meaning the German champions will face either Real, Atletico … or their old nemesis Chelsea.