VfL Wolfsburg got their Bundesliga campaign off to a winning start in dramatic fashion at VfB Stuttgart in the two sides' rescheduled Matchday 1 encounter late on Saturday evening.
Chances at both ends
Summer signing Bas Dost headed the only goal of the game in added time at the end of the second half - just minutes after Wolves keeper Diego Benaglio had kept out a penalty from Vedad Ibisevic at the other end. It was an explosive end to a contest seemingly petering out as a scoreless draw and wrapped up a fascinating day's action in the top flight.
The hosts made a lively start to proceedings, with full back Tim Hoogland particularly active down the right - most conspicuously in the eleventh minute, when he fired in a cross-cum-shot that flew narrowly wide of the target. Four minutes later, however, the best chance of the opening phase fell at the other end. Diego got on the end of a cross in from the right with a header that home custodian Sven Ulreich pushed straight out to the feet of Ashkan Dejagah, but the Wolves' wide attacker drilled his first-time effort over the bar.
With both sides seeking to get forward at every opportunity it seemed like only a matter of time before the ball hit the back of the net and in the 23rd minute it duly did, VfB central defender Maza powering a delicate delivery from William Kvist home at the far post. Unfortunately for the hosts though, the Mexico international was narrowly offside.
Calm before the storm
Stuttgart continued to make most of the running, but VfL were looking at least as dangerous themselves with Diego and Dejagah on the break - the latter teeing up Ivica Olic for a header wide straight after Wolves' keeper Diego Benaglio had beaten Vedad Ibisevic in a one-on-one race for the ball at the other end. The first half sounded out with another disallowed goal, this time against Wolfsburg for a foul by Dost following a corner.
The second 45 opened in a more muted fashion than the first, albeit due largely to the effectiveness of the visitors' aggressive midfield pressing. With respective frontmen Ibisevic and Dost getting precious little in the way of useful service, those chances that did arise were falling to defenders - VfL's Naldo heading a corner heading a corner just wide of the top corner on the hour mark and VfB's Arthur Boka firing a free kick into the side netting ten minutes on from that.
Save the best for last
The final phase of the contest proved anything but mundane however. In the 83rd minute, Diego unleashed a rocket of a shot that pulled an equally eye-catching save out of Ulreich. Then, with just a couple of minutes of regulation time remaining, Pogatetz hauled Ibisevic to the ground attempting to clear a follow-up effort from the Stuttgart goal-getter. Ibisevic took the resultant penalty himself, but Benaglio saved it, the Bosnian striker then contriving to miss an open goal with the rebound.
If that was not drama enough, Wolfsburg broke straight down the park from the kick-out and Vierinha teed up a ball for Dost to head home, doubling the pain for Stuttgart and leaving them looking at no points instead of three.
Stuttgart: Ulreich - Hoogland, Tasci, Maza, Boka - Kvist (Niedermeier 90+1'), Gentner - Harnik, Hajnal (Torun 46'), Traoré (Cacau 63') - Ibisevic
Wolfsburg: Benaglio - Fagner, Naldo, Pogatetz, Rodriguez - Knoche (Polak 63'), Schäfer - Diego - Dejagah (Vierinha 67'), Olic - Dost (Kjaer 90+2')
Goal: 0-1 Dost (90')