BERLIN (Reuters) – VfL Wolfsburg’s Daniel Ginczek snatched a stoppage-time winner to stun Schalke 04 2-1 on Saturday and give the Wolves a winning start to the Bundesliga campaign against last season’s runners-up in a bad-tempered game.
Schalke substitute Nabil Bentaleb scored an 85th-minute penalty to level the match but Ginczek grabbed the last-gasp winner deep into added time after Schalke had failed to clear an earlier effort.
The Royal Blues, who will compete in the Champions League group stage, were surprised when John Brooks, unmarked at the far post, headed in to give Wolfsburg the lead in the 33rd minute.
Disciplined and hard-working, the Wolves looked eager to earn a winning start after needing a relegation playoff victory last season to stay up.
Schalke tried to seize back the initiative but it was Wolfsburg who looked likelier to score again, and to make matters worse the visitors were left with 10 men when Nastasic was sent off for a foul in the 65th minute.
Moments later Wolfsburg’s Wout Weghorst also got his marching orders after shoving an opponent to the ground but the referee changed his decision to a yellow card after reviewing the video.
In a chaotic period, Schalke were awarded a penalty and Brooks initially sent off for his challenge before the referee realised he was showing the wrong card to the player and Brooks was booked instead.
Bentaleb kept his cool to send Koen Casteels the wrong way but Wolfsburg still had something left in the tank and Ginczek scored in the dying seconds in a game that featured eight yellow cards.
“The boys worked hard, kept believing and rewarded themselves with an equaliser,” said Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco. “But in the end we still lost. That is a shame. We did not play well in the first half but after the break we did it better.”
Borussia Moenchengladbach struck twice in three minutes early in the second half to beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-0. Gladbach also squandered a first-half penalty when Thorgan Hazard’s effort was saved by Bayer keeper Ramazan Oezcan.
Eintracht Frankfurt bounced back from their German Super Cup defeat by Bayern Munich and their shock German Cup first-round exit with a 2-0 win at Freiburg.
Augsburg also got three points after edging promoted Fortuna Dusseldorf 2-1 while Hertha Berlin beat Nuremberg, back in the Bundesliga this season, 1-0 thanks to Vedad Ibisevic’s winner.
Champions Bayern Munich kicked off their season with a 3-1 win over Hoffenheim on Friday. Borussia Dortmund host RB Leipizg in their season opener on Sunday.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond, Neville Dalton)