Borussia Dortmund could only manage a goalless draw in the away leg of their Champions League pairing with Spaniards Malaga. Despite a string of opportunities, the German champions just couldn't hit the back of the net.
Ahead of the tie on Wednesday, Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp had voiced his respect for Malaga.
Although this is first time the Spanish side have reached this stage of the competition, Klopp pointed to the greater experience of Malaga's individual players.
And, at their packed Rosaleda Stadium, the Boquerones - or "Anchovies" - were able to show just how they have gotten so far in the contest, hampering all efforts by a Dortmund side that conjured up chance after chance.
Among the best of the attempts on goal came 19 minutes in, as Dortmund's Ilkay Gündogan got forward and slid the ball to a free Mario Götze, who shot only for Argentine Willy Caballero to pull off one of many impressive saves.
It became clear that Dortmund needed to watch out at the back with Javier Saviola and Julio Baptista looking dangerous up front. Marcel Schmelzer, wearing a face mask after being injured in a win over Stuttgart at the weekend, lost out repeatedly to Malaga's right winger Joaquin.
With Malaga determined to show they had not got this far without being able to fight back, the Spaniards powered their way back.
Just minutes before the break, Dortmund found their goal being peppered at one point by the hosts' Brazilian captain Weligton and then Jeremy Toulalan, whose shot was cleared off the line by Götze. Dortmund came close too, ahead of half time. Caballero looked particularly impressive as, moments before the whistle, he beat away a wild curling shot from Sebastian Kehl.
Overall, though, the lion’s share of the chances went to Dortmund. Given the number of opportunities Dortmund had, it was hard to believe that Malaga actually enjoyed 55 percent of the possession. Without Caballero, it could have been 3-0 to the Germans.
All guns blazing
Dortmund came out for the second half with renewed energy. Götze wreaked havoc for visitors as the side seemed able to do anything but score. Notably, on 65 minutes, he cut back to Lewandowski, who - with plenty of space - sliced the ball wide.
As the Germans enjoyed much of the possession, Malaga were only able to hit them on the break. Götze came near again on 65 minutes after he was picked out by Gündogan, but pulled the ball wide.
It was symptomatic of a half in which Malaga acquitted themselves better - Isco with the best chance on 66 minutes - but neither side really shone.
Malaga enjoyed periods of dominance, in which Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller made his case for man of the match over Caballero. Toulalan and Antunes both came close to scoring for the home team, but were no more successful in the end than the Germans.
"I can live with this 0-0. It was a good match against tough opponents," said coach Klopp. "We played well from the first whistle to the last, but this is the highest level. We know what we have to do in the return."
Polish midfielder Jakub "Kuba" Blaszczykowski missed out, suffering a persistent groin injury. Klopp was already without injured centre-back Mats Hummels.
In the night's other game, Real Madrid beat Turkish opponents Galatasaray 3-0, with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain.