VfL Wolfsburg begin 2018 with a successful result. In the first competitive game of the New Year, coach Martin Schmidt’s eleven earned a share of the spoils, with a 0-0 draw away to the Bundesliga’s third placed side, Borussia Dortmund, in a 0-0 draw on Sunday evening. With the hosts having the better of the chances in the first-half, the Wolves had a difficult phase to service in the second period, but as the tie wore on, the Green-Whites delivered an open, attacking battle against the Black-&-Yellows, leading to a tie which really could have gone either way. In the table, the point saw the Wolves defend twelfth spot.
Chances at either end
Coach Martin Schmidt’s side put on a concentrated and determined display right from the outset, thus making life extremely difficult for BVB. By midway through the first period, the Wolves then began to make ever more of an impact on the offensive. Origi was unlucky in the box (34') and shortly after, Didavi, who was set up wonderfully with a back-heeled pass by Yunus Malli, could have put the Wolves in front, but was ultimately denied by Borussia keeper Roman Bürki (37'). With then Alexander Isak crashing a shot against the outside of the post at the other end (42'), it was the hosts who had the better of the chances, as the game went into the break locked in stalemate.
Steffen goes close on his debut
From the start of the second-half, Dortmund pushed determinedly and within five minutes of the re-start, Stöger’s eleven had a couple of opportunities to break the deadlock: Firstly Yarmolenko fired over from eleven meters out (48') and, just five minutes later, Jadon Sancho hit the post with an effort from a tight angle (53'). The Green-Whites had problems during the early phase of the second period, but then hit back through Origi. Josuha Guilavogui sent a long ball through for the VfL attacker, who was unable to beat Bürki with a lobbed effort (58'). The front-man the almost set up new signing Renato Steffen for a perfect debut: Origi‘s perfectly timed cross was met by the Swiss substitute, whose flying header drifted narrowly wide of the far post (66').
Tension to the finish
The final 20 minutes: Dortmund were clearly determined to force a victory, but the tie had long since become an evenly-matched affair, with the Wolves not only defending confidently, but also as they began to realise that there could be more than just a share of the spoils up for grabs. With both sides pushing for the win, a decisive goal at either end could have been scored at any moment. William, unleashing a shot from distance (77'), Arnold trying his luck with a direct free-kick (81') and Brekalo attempting to curl a shot into the far corner (85'), all went close for VfL. At the opposite end, former VfL attacker André Schürrle (79') and again Sancho (82') had openings for the hosts. The fact that the game ended in stalemate at the end of 92 highly exciting minutes, was somewhat less than the game deserved. At the same time, the Green-Whites absolutely deserved their eighth away point of the season.
Borussia Dortmund: Bürki – Piszczek, Sokratis, Toprak, Toljan – Weigl – Götze (56' Dahoud), Kagawa – Yarmolenko (78' Sahin), Isak (68' Schürrle), Sancho
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Verhaegh, Uduokhai, Tisserand, William – Guilavogui, Arnold – Didavi (64' Steffen), Malli, Brekalo – Origi
Yellow cards: Dahoud / Guilavogui
Referee: Tobias Stieler (Hamburg)