The German holders passed the ball around for fun, but without much effect in the first half. It was actually the deep-dropping hosts that had the best chances on the counterattack.
United forward Danny Welbeck found the net, but it was disallowed as the referee deemed there to be a foul before the shot was away.
Still, Bayern passed it about probing for an opening in what turned out to be an incredibly sturdy Manchester United wall.
Finally, it was not one of Bayern’s ultra-talented midfielders who made the breakthrough. It was the Manchester United captain, Nemanja Vidic, who produced an incredibly athletic header that nestled it’s way in.
David Moyes’ side had grown into the game. They were beginning to break out with more frequency, and spending less time pinned inside their own penalty box.
The visitors are champions for a reason, though. Substitute striker Mario Mandzukic brought down a cross to the foot of Bastian Schweinsteiger who volleyed home the equalizer.
It represented an all-important away goal, especially considering the goal scorer will be absent for the second leg having been sent off late in the match. Bayern defender Javi Martinez, too, will be suspended having accumulated another yellow card.
Japanese international Shinji Kagawa changed the game once brought on for the defending English champions.
His ability to neatly pass the ball, and technical ability to keep it, gave United a chance to move down the pitch instead of going route one.
Welbeck, who was eventually substituted for Javier Hernandez, attempted a chip of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, but the massive German was able to deflect away.
The two sides meet again next week in Germany. Bayern should be expected to hold a major possession advantage, maybe even a bigger one than the 74 percent on Tuesday, as they will feel comfortable with their fans behind them.