Real Madrid prevailed in the end. Despite going two goals up inside 12 minutes at home to Borussia Dortmund, the European champions were pegged back to 2-2 and needed a late winner to take all three points.
On this evidence, however, they will not scare any of the continent's top teams.
Dortmund can no longer consider themselves to be in that category. The German side have picked up just two points in this edition of the Champions League and both of those came against APOEL, which meant the Bundesliga giants crept into the Europa League above the Cypriots only on goal difference.
In a sense, this match mattered more to BVB than to Madrid. Zinedine Zidane's side were already qualified for the last 16 of the continental competition, but were unable to catch Group H leaders Tottenham. Nevertheless, Real's prestige means they are always obliged to win this type of games, particularly at the moment.
With Madrid currently fourth in La Liga, Saturday's game against fifth-placed Sevilla is much more important, and there was some surprise that Cristiano Ronaldo, unlike Lionel Messi on Tuesday, was not rested.
The Portuguese was clearly keen to boost his own confidence after scoring only twice in La Liga all season and what better way to do it than with another Champions League record.
After helping to set up the opener for Borja Mayoral after just eight minutes, Ronaldo fired home from just outside the box with a super shot to make it nine goals in Europe's premier club competition this season.
More significantly than that, he became the first player to net in all six Champions League group games in a single season. He also saw a goal ruled out late on for offside and played his part in the build-up to the winner netted by Lucas Vazquez.
"Cristiano, Ballon d'Or," a section of the Real fans chanted in the closing stages, with the four-time winner almost certain to claim the individual award for the fifth time on Thursday.
Elsewhere, however, Madrid have problems and defensively, Zidane's side were found wanting again, particularly after Raphael Varane limped off with yet another muscular injury.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored for Dortmund with a header late in the first half, before equalising in the second period following a mix-up at the back and a shot blocked by Keylor Navas that went straight back to the Gabon forward. And, right at the end, Shinji Kagawa missed a great chance to make it 3-3 when he fired over the bar.
It was not convincing by Madrid and it has not been all season, especially at the Santiago Bernabeu. And, after finishing second in their group, Los Blancos could face a tough team like Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Manchester United or Liverpool in the last 16, with Besiktas and Roma the other possibilities.
And, looking at Real this term, there is no reason for the bigger of those clubs to fear Zidane's side in Monday's draw. By the time the competition resumes in February, significant improvement will be required.