Real Madrid had to come from behind here Tuesday to gain a 2-2 tie with Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, even as Malaga and Porto secured their spots in the round of 16.
In the other Group D match, reigning Premier League champ Manchester City was lucky to salvage a 2-2 draw against Ajax at Etihad stadium.
Borussia, current holders of the Bundesliga crown, took a 1-0 lead at the Bernabeu on a goal by Marco Reus in the 28th minute, but Pepe answered 6 minutes later.
An own goal by Alvaro Arbeloa in the waning moments of the first half left Real Madrid down 2-1.
The tide turned in favor of the home side in the second half, though it was not until the 89th minute that Mesut Ozil brought Madrid even.
Tuesday’s clashes left the German squad in first place with 8 points, 1 ahead of Real Madrid, followed by pre-tournament underdog Ajax with 4 and Manchester City with a paltry 2 points.
A newcomer to the Champions League, Malaga has made the most of its turn on the international stage.
Though the team had to be satisfied with a 1-1 draw with AC Milan in Tuesday’s battle at the legendary San Siro, the Spanish side’s 10 points in Group C are enough to guarantee a berth in the next round.
AC Milan trails Malaga by 5 points, while Anderlecht stands at 4 points after Tuesday’s 1-0 home win over fourth-place Zenit St. Petersburg.
In Group A, Porto fought Dynamo Kiev to a scoreless tie, leaving the Portuguese side with 10 points and a ticket to the round of 16.
Paris St. Germain solidified its hold on second place by inflicting a 4-0 rout on Dinamo Zagreb.
The race in Group B grew tighter on Tuesday, as Arsenal and Schalke 04 played to a 2-2 deadlock in Gelsenkirchen and Olympiakos Piraeus topped Montpellier HSC by a score of 3-1.
Schalke now leads the group with 8 points, 1 ahead of Arsenal and 2 in front of Olympiakos.