Under-fire Bayern Munich suffered their second consecutive defeat, ignominiously losing 3-2 to Russian minnows in their Champions League Group D game on Wednesday night.
After ceding pole position in the Bundesliga to newcomers RB Leipzig on the weekend, by virtue of a 1-0 defeat to rivals Borussia Dortmund, Carlo Ancelotti’s men were under pressure to make a statement of sorts.
Playing a side they had thrashed 5-0 in September, a routine win was expected from the Bavarians, despite the sub-zero playing conditions.
Rostov had only scored three goals in their four preceding games, conceding 10 and managing just a solitary point in a turbulent debut season for the Russians.
And despite Bayern getting the breakthrough thanks to Douglas Costa, with teenager Renato Sanches key in the build-up, the hosts didn't collapse as many had expected.
Costa turned from hero to zero when his careless pass was intercepted with ease by Rostov and they made the visitors pay with a rapid-counter attack which levelled the scores a minute before half-time.
Serdar Azmoun twisted and turned, sending Jerome Boateng for a hot-dog before cooly finishing past Bayern’s reserve goalkeeper Sven Ulreich.
The hosts got lucky with the second goal, as Boateng was harshly adjudged to have fouled Christian Noboa in the box, and Dimitri Poloz kept his nerve to give the Russians the lead in the 50th minute.
Bayern quickly responded, with Juan Bernat finishing well from a tight angle to keep his side in contention as Bayern struggled to utilise their stranglehold in possession.
Despite obviously lacking sharpness, it would take something special to beat Bayern and Christian Noboa’s 67th-minute winner was just that.
His free-kick went over the wall and dipped viciously to beat Ulreich with ease and send the 15000 plus crowd into delirium.
After Atletico Madrid beat PSV 2-0 in the other Group D game, the Spanish side are confirmed winners of the group, regardless of the result of the final group stage game. Atletico are on 15 points from five games while Bayern are a distant second with nine points.
Bayern manager Ancelotti knows that a tough round-of-16 fixture is on the cards after their sub-par performance in the group stages, and an unfavourable result could severely complicate his tenure in Munich.