Real Madrid were given a taste of their own medicine by Borussia Dortmund who snatched top spot in Group F from them with just three minutes left.
The late-goal specialists were winning 2-1 thanks to a Karim Benzema double but after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pulled a goal back they left themselves open for a late twist and it came when substitute Marco Reus levelled the scores and sent the Germans top.
For long periods Madrid looked like delivering the kind of performance that would suggest becoming the first team to retain the Champions League might not be beyond them this season.
Karim Benzema had spent the last 48 hours hearing all about how Dortmund striker Aubameyang would love to replace him at Real Madrid and he responded with a timely brace.
He is an old hand at dealing with pretenders to his throne and with a goal each side of half-time he topped up his credit with Real Madrid supporters – it had run a little low after a poor showing in the Clasico.
But Aubameyang was not to be outdone and after scoring from close range on the hour he then got the better of Marcelo and laid on the second Dortmund goal.
The draw extends Real Madrid’s unbeaten run to 34 games and means Zinedine Zidane has leveled Leo Beenhakker’s club record of matches without defeat – not bad for someone the doubters dubbed a fine player who didn’t know how to coach when he took over 11 months ago.
But the edge was taken off of the achievement with a draw that felt a lot like a defeat.
Madrid edged the first half and got themselves in front on 28 minutes when Dani Carvajal drilled a cross in from the right and Benzema finished inside the six-yard box.
It had been coming. Several times they were a whisker from scoring great goals. Casemiro set them away on one lightning break, which ended in Ronaldo playing in Benzema and the Frenchman seeing his shot saved by Roman Weidenfeller.
James Rodriguez then started and finished a move which involved Lucas Vazquez and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Dortmund’s yellow wall on tour kept making plenty of noise high in the Bernabeu and they had their chances late on too in the first half.
For the first time Casemiro allowed the visitors space in front of Madrid’s defence and Ousamane Dembele fed Christian Pulisic but Navas saved his shot.
Dembele began the second half charge with a run at heart of Real Madrid’s defence that finished with him shooting just wide.
Pulisic then got in behind Marcelo but Gonzalo Castro couldn’t convert the cross.
They paid for the misses when Benzema doubled Real Madrid’s lead heading in James Rodriguez’ cross. He was celebrating each goal with extra gusto and Madrid, now comfortably on top of their group, were enjoying themselves.
But after Aubameyang swept in the third goal of the night he was then millimeters from the leveler but just failed to reach substitute Emre Mor’s cross.
Benzema could then have completed his hat-trick and put the result beyond doubt but his header was saved on the line. And Ronaldo forced an acrobatic save from Weidenfeller and then hit the post.
The misses would be costly as Marcelo lost the ball high up the pitch and failed to track back as the yellow tide came in at high speed. Aubameyang turned Ramos and crossed, and Reus gave Dortmund group-winner status.