Ryan Giggs scored his 150th Manchester United goal, then set up Michael Carrick for the winner as the Red Devils came from behind to beat Wolfsburg 2-1.
Giggs became the ninth United player to reach the milestone, although his free-kick needed a hefty deflection before beating Diego Benaglio.
However, it was not such a great night for Michael Owen who, after being picked to start in front of watching England coach Fabio Capello, lasted just 20 minutes before limping off with a groin injury.
That the former Liverpool star did little even in that short time to spark a strangely lethargic United side and his replacement Dimitar Berbatov made an instant impact only damaged the 29-year-old's cause still further. Nothing is certain. But if Owen makes the plane to South Africa from here, he will have to be either very brilliant, or very lucky.
Berbatov's back-heel that sent Antonio Valencia clean through immediately showed United were not going to meekly sit back and toss away a couple of points to the German champions, who have emerged from nowhere thanks to the backing of car giants Volkswagen. But the Ecuador winger's finish lacked confidence as it bounced wide.
With their free-scoring strike pair Dzeko and Grafite threatening and Zvjezdan Misimovic a danger in possession, Wolfsburg could in no way be described as being overawed. And, while United were the better side, seeing the visitors opening the scoring was not entirely unexpected.
Makoto Hasebe received a return pass from Grafite and quickly looked up to see Dzeko on the far post being marked by Patrice Evra. It was a clear mis-match and the Bosnian had little trouble rising above the Frenchman to steer a header into the bottom corner.
Had United been unable to respond immediately, they would have been in big trouble. Thankfully for the champions, Giggs found the answer after Anderson had been brought down.
As the 35-year-old's first United goal came thanks to a huge deflection off Colin Hendry in 1991, there was something symmetrical about the sight of his 150th ending up in the net in very similar fashion as the ball cannoned into the Wolfsburg wall and left Benaglio helpless.
Giggs' contribution did not end there though. After Rooney and Berbatov had started the move, the Welshman stretched to push a pass into Carrick's path 12 minutes from time. Under pressure to score after an earlier failure, Carrick celebrated like a relieved man as a first-time curling shot nestled in the net with Benaglio beaten in comprehensive fashion, this time in more orthodox fashion.
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