Wolfsburg started brightly – continuing where they had left off in the DFB Cup last weekend – and John Brooks headed the opener in the 33rd minute, the American finding the net on his 100th Bundesliga appearance. The Wolves came out of the blocks quickly at the start of the second period, but Schalke – who went a man down in the 65th minute when Matija Nastasic was sent off after the intervention of VAR for a foul on Wout Weghorst, whose later red card was overturned by VAR – equalised five minutes from time when Nabil Bentaleb converted from the penalty spot. The hosts never stopped believing, though, and substitute Ginczek converted coolly from the edge of the box in the fourth minute of injury time to secure a 2-1 win and all three points, meaning the Wolves head to Bayer 04 Leverkusen next Saturday (kick-off: 15:30 CEST) on a high.
Camacho and Weghorst get the nod
VfL coach Bruno Labbadia made two changes to the side that beat SV Elversberg 07 in the DFB Cup last weekend: Ignacio Camacho replaced Yannick Gerhardt in midfield, with Weghorst starting up front in place of Ginczek. The Spanish midfielder was making his first appearance since April 2018 after an injury lay-off, while Weghorst's inclusion marked his Bundesliga debut. Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco opted for one change to the side that won in the DFB Cup first round, Suat Serdar replacing Bentaleb in midfield.
Brooks scores first Wolfsburg goal
Buoyed by the late DFB Cup win in Elversberg, Wolfsburg began on the front foot, moving the ball crisply and hunting for any holes in the Schalke defence. The visitors were initially happy to sit back, although always carried a threat on the break through the lively Amine Harit. Even so, the hosts began to turn pressure into chances as the midway point of the first half approached, William twice going close before Josuha Guilavogui tested Ralf Fährmann from distance. In the 33rd minute, Labbadia's troops took the lead when Brooks – unmarked at the back post – nodded in his first goal for the club from a Maximilian Arnold corner. Mark Uth almost responded instantly, but his header aside, the Wolves ended the half untroubled and hunting a second.
Second-half drama aplenty
The introduction of Gerhardt for Guilavogui at the start of the second period did little to halt Wolfsburg's momentum. Weghorst fired over from the edge of the box within five minutes of the restart, before a fine Jérôme Roussillon cross from the left almost fell to Josip Brekalo in space in the area. At the other end, Serdar shot harmlessly wide but the Wolves remained on top, as Renato Steffen and Weghorst were next to go close to finding the target. Things went from bad to worse for the visitors in the 65th minute when Nastasic saw red after the intervention of VAR for a foul on Weghorst; the Dutch striker's red card two minutes later for a foul on Guido Burgstaller was then rescinded to a yellow after the intervention of VAR. Down to ten men, the Royal Blues threw everything at the Wolves in the closing stages and when Brooks brought Breel Embolo down in the six-yard box, substitute Bentaleb sent Koen Casteels the wrong way from the spot. The drama did not end there, though, and in the 94th minute it was another substitute, Ginczek, who was in the right place at the right time to earn the Wolves three precious points.
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – William, Knoche, Brooks, Roussillon – Camacho, Guilavogui (Gerhardt 46') – Steffen, Arnold, Brekalo (Mehmedi 86') – Weghorst (Ginczek 75')
FC Schalke 04: Fährmann – Sane, Naldo, Nastasic – Caligiuri, Serdar (Bentaleb 83'), McKennie, Baba – Harit (Embolo 58'), Burgstaller (Teuchert 73'), Uth
Goals: Brooks (33'), Bentaleb (pen. 85'), Ginczek (90+4')
Yellow cards: William, Guilavogui, Weghorst, Brooks / Sane, McKennie, Burgstaller
Red cards: Nastasic
Referee: Patrick Ittrich (Hamburg)