VfL Wolfsburg recorded a 3-1 win away to VfB Stuttgart on Wednesday evening, with goals from Xaver Schlager (13’), Wout Weghorst (29’) and Yannick Gerhardt (65’) keeping the Wolves third in the table in the process, while Gonzalo Castro replied with a consolation for the home team just before the final whistle. Koen Casteels also saved a spot kick from Philipp Förster (26’) in the process.
Matchday 31 will see the Green-and-Whites face Borussia Dortmund – a direct rival in the battle for the UEFA Champions League slots – on Saturday 24 April at 15:30 CEST in the Volkswagen Arena.
Four changes to the starting XI
VfL head coach Oliver Glasner made four alterations to his starting line-up, with Jerome Roussillon, Maximilian Arnold, Marin Pongracic and Josip Brekalo all coming in. Joao Victor and Maxence Lacroix moved to the bench, while Kevin Mbabu and Paulo Otavio were both absent after picking up too many yellow cards.
Schlager on the mark, Casteels saves a penalty
Casteels was on fine form right from the off, with an excellent save in the ninth minute that prevented Sasa Kalajdzic from giving Stuttgart the lead. Then at the other end, a clearance by defender Marc Oliver Kempf landed right at the feet of Schlager, who fired home from the edge of the area to give VfL the lead.
A handball from John Brooks gave Stuttgart a huge opportunity to equalise in the 26th minute, but Casteels was again up to the task, clawing away Förster’s penalty with a great reflex save. VfL maintained their cool after this scare and promptly doubled their lead, Brekalo crossing into the six-yard box where Weghorst was on hand to head home between Gregor Kobel’s legs.
Gerhardt makes it three
Stuttgart threw all they could into reducing the deficit in the second half, but the Wolfsburg rearguard stood firm and made it all but impossible for the home side to find a way through. The Green-and-Whites were happy to look for the odd chance on the break and duly punished Stuttgart with a lightning-fast reaction to a lost ball, Brekalo centring for Gerhardt who fired home first time into the top corner to make it 3-0.
Ten minutes before full time Roberto Massimo hit the inside of the post after good work from former Wolfsburg midfielder Daniel Didavi, before Castro’s deflected strike from distance found its way past Casteels to make it 3-1 in the second minute of stoppage time. It was too late, however, to affect the final result, giving the Wolves three critical points away from home as they look to secure a Champions League spot.
VfB Stuttgart: Kobel – Anton, Karazor, Kempf – Endo, Massimo, Ahamada (71‘ Castro), Coulibaly, Förster (71‘ Didavi), Klimowicz (63‘ Churlinov) – Kalajdzic (80‘ Cisse)
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Baku, Pongracic, Brooks, Roussillon – Schlager (66’ Guilavogui), Arnold, Brekalo (76‘ Ginczek), Gerhardt, Philipp (66‘ Mehmedi) – Weghorst (88‘ Bialek)
Goals: 0-1 Schlager (13‘), 0-2 Weghorst (29‘), 0-3 Gerhardt (65‘), 1-3 Castro (90‘+2)
Yellow cards: Ahamada, Castro, Cisse / -
Referee: Dr. Felix Brych (Munich)