Real Madrid needed some last-minute magic from Jude Bellingham to earn a 1-0 win over Champions League debutants Union Berlin on Wednesday.
Carlo Ancelotti's side were denied at every turn by their German opponents, who were only promoted to the Bundesliga four years ago until Bellingham came to their rescue with a 94th-minute strike.
The England international has started his Madrid career in stunning goalscoring form with six goals in six games for the club across all competitions.
Madrid seemed destined to share points after Union Berlin goalkeeper Frederik Ronnow frustrated them and Rodrygo and Joselu both hit the woodwork.
Without injured forward Vinicius Junior the Madrid attack has lacked dynamism in recent weeks, even as midfielder Bellingham's goals have earned them a 100 per cent record in La Liga after five games.
Real dominated possession in the first half but found it difficult to break down Union, who defended resolutely and were impressively marshalled at the back by veteran Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci – a summer signing from Juventus.
The 14-times champions made a fast start to the second half and Rodrygo twice went close to scoring the opener, having a close-range shot saved by keeper Frederik Ronnow before unleashing a thunderous volley that cannoned off the post.
Ancelotti's team continued to turn the screw as the second half wore on with Union beginning to flag, and the German resistance was finally pierced in the 94th minute when midfielder Bellingham turned in a rebound to bag the winner.
“We have the luck that he's here playing with us and I hope he keeps scoring a lot of goals,” defender Nacho told Movistar.
“It was a complete game, we had a lot of shots, the one thing we had to do was to be aware of their counter-attacks – we're very happy.”
Bellingham was over the moon after his heroic effort.
“I'm a confident lad but I really couldn't have hoped for things to start as well as this in terms of goals. We've played five in La Liga, one in the Champions League and won all six so we can't really complain about that,” the player of the match said.
“I'm not going to lie, I hope I keep on scoring goals in minute 94 or 95. Although it might do my heart, and the club, good to score earlier.”
While the visitors will be bitterly disappointed to have conceded so late, they will take heart from their performance and believe they have a real chance to make it out of the group stage.
Union host Portugal's Braga next on October 3 while Real visit Italian champions Napoli.