BERLIN — Former East German champion Dynamo Berlin made it difficult for Schalke in the first round of the German Cup before the Bundesliga side finally prevailed 2-0 on Monday.
Dynamo, which won 10 successive East German titles between 1979-88 amid allegations of match-fixing and politically influenced favours, fared badly after German reunification and now plays at fourth-tier level. It was previously backed by Stasi chief Erich Mielke.
In front of 14,000 spectators at the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark in Berlin, Dynamo did Schalke no favours and the top-flight side was made to sweat before two late goals from Yevhen Konoplyanka finally ensured progress.
Leon Goretzka sent the Ukrainian midfielder through to open the scoring in the 78th minute and Konoplyanka made sure of the win with his second on a counterattack in injury time.
It was Schalke’s first win under new coach Domeniko Tedesco, who made headlines last week by dropping Benedikt Hoewedes as captain in favour of goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann.
Schalke started well and should have gone ahead through Guido Burgstaller before Dynamo got into the game. Matthias Steinborn had the game’s best chance before the break when he forced a good save from Faehrmann.
Dynamo goalkeeper Bernhard Hendl produced a brilliant save to deny Goretzka and then another to stop Franco Di Santo before Konoplyanka finally made the breakthrough.
Nuremberg defeated second-division rival MSV Duisburg 2-1, and third-division Paderborn upset St. Pauli 2-1.
Hertha Berlin was playing at third-division Hansa Rostock later Monday.