MUNICH, February 21 (Champions League) - AC Milan earned a 1-1 draw against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena to move into the driving seat of this Champions League second round tie.
Bayern's coveted midfielder Michael Ballack was the home side's danger man in the first half and his fine goal in the 23rd minute sparked his team-mates into life.
But the home side were unable to stretch their lead and suffered the consequences as a rejuvenated Milan drew level through Andrei Shevchenko's penalty 13 minutes into the second half.
Milan had chances to win the game while Ballack had a penalty appeal turned down and headed Bayern's best second-half opportunity over.
And although the draw maintains Bayern's unbeaten record in their new stadium, it means they now need to score at the San Siro to stand any chance of progressing.
Ballack is already in the shop window after snubbing Bayern's offer of a new contract beyond the end of this season both Milan's other club, Internazional, thought to be strong contenders to acquire him.
If the clubs bidding for his services were not already convinced of his talents, they will be now.
The Germany captain took over the Bayern captaincy for the night after Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn was forced to pull out through injury, and he took the initiative with a stunning goal.
The midfielder had already shown his strength with his head, but it was his vision and execution of a volley from 25 yards which brought the fans in the Allianz Arena to their feet.
Dida in the Milan goal stretched out his arm, but was unable to reach the ball as it curled away from him into the corner.
After an opening in which Milan had invited pressure onto them and Bayern were unable to make any inroads, the goal lifted Felix Magath's German giants.
Ballack once again illustrated his talents, picking out Roy Makaay with a perfectly weighted ball from deep and the Dutchman almost wrapped up the move, but Dida made a fine save low to his right.
The chances continued to fall for the home side, but neither Lucio nor Claudio Pizarro were able to beat Dida from distance.
Milan showed just glimpses of their strength in attack, but Valerien Ismael was equal to any threat, making several well-timed tackles at the feet of Alberto Gilardino and Shevchenko.
All the excellent defensive work by Ismael was forgotten when he handled a cross from Serginho in the second half, however.
The ball clipped the French defender's arm and referee De Bleeckere from Belgium was in no doubt the intervention was intentional and pointed to the spot.
Shevchenko sent Michael Rensing the wrong way, giving the young Bayern goalkeeper his first task of the evening in picking the ball out of the back of the net.
Within minutes, Milan, who had made a bright start to the second half, had the chance to take the lead with Gilardino scooping Shevchenko's square ball over the bar from 10 yards.
Rensing had not been kept busy on his European debut in the Bayern goal, but he was alert when required to prevent Shevchenko from putting Milan ahead.
The 21-year-old remained on his feet as long as possible as the Ukrainian closed in and was able to narrow the angle and win the battle at Shevchenko's feet.
At the other end, Dida was unable to remain on his feet after defending a cross and the Brazilian was carried off with an ankle injury as Zeljko Kalac took his place.
The Australian keeper was rarely involved as tiredness on both sides caused the remainder of an evenly contested game to be disputed in midfield.
Dida, meanwhile, was taken to hospital and AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti expressed his hope after the game that the keeper had only only sprained his ankle.