VfL Wolfsburg lost 3-1 at northern Germany rivals SV Werder Bremen in the closing game of Matchday 22. A crowd of 38,062 fans at the Weserstadion witnessed the hosts go into an early lead through Ludwig Augustinsson’s goal in the fourth minute, while Florian Kainz doubled Bremen’s advantage shortly before half-time. The Wolves improved after the break and pulled a goal back through Paul Verhaegh, but a second from Kainz in the 72nd minute ensured that VfL suffered their second league defeat of 2018.
Injuries force changes
Head coach Martin Schmidt made four changes to his starting eleven from Wednesday’s DFB Cup quarter-final at Schalke. Two of these were enforced as Marcel Tisserand and Yannick Gerhardt missed out through thigh and ankle injuries respectively. Sebastian Jung and Divock Origi dropped to the bench, with William, Verhaegh, Josip Brekalo and Victor Osimhen coming into the side. January signing Admir Mehmedi made his first Bundesliga start for the Wolves but Daniel Didavi was absent from the squad due to a sore throat.
Bremen take early lead
Bremen opened the scoring in only the fourth minute when Zlatko Junuzovic found the head of Augustinsson from the first corner of the game, and the Swede shook off two white shirts to nod the ball in from close range. The Wolves tried to seize the initiative immediately and create openings but, in contrast to their opponents, lacked a cutting edge up front. In fact, Werder had a good chance to double their lead in the 31st minute when Niklas Moisander hit the bar. Shortly before the break, they did make it 2-0 when Kainz curled the ball into the top far corner from 20 yards out.
Verhaegh scores with rebound
The Wolves started the second half strongly and Osimhen tested Jiri Pavlenka with a left-footed shot in the 48th minute. From the resulting corner, Robin Knoche was fouled by Moisander and referee Deniz Aytekin pointed to the spot. Verhaegh’s penalty was parried by the Werder goalkeeper but the Dutchman followed up and poked in the rebound to peg Bremen back. The goal put the wind in VfL's sails and Schmidt’s men began to create more chances and looked livelier in attack. However, they were hit on the break in the 72nd minute when Kainz netted his second goal of the game to make it 3-1. VfL couldn’t muster another comeback after that and left Bremen empty-handed.
SV Werder Bremen: Pavlenka – Gebre Selassie, Veljkovic, Moisander, Augustinsson – Bargfrede (Delaney 57’) – Eggestein, Junuzovic (Bauer 89’) – Johannsson (Gondorf 65’), Kainz – Kruse
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Verhaegh, Bruma, Knoche, William – Guilavogui (Origi 69’), Arnold – Brekalo (Steffen 69’), Malli, Mehmedi (Dimata 78’) – Osimhen
Goals: 1-0 Augustinsson (4’), 2-0 Kainz (40’), 2-1 Verhaegh (49’), 3-1 Kainz (72’)
Bookings: Augustinsson / Guilavogui, Bruma, Steffen, Arnold, Verhaegh
Referee: Deniz Aytekin (Nuremberg)