VfL Wolfsburg finished fourth in the Bundesliga for the first time after Oliver Glasner’s side were beaten 3-2 at home to 1. FSV Mainz 05 on Matchday 34 on Saturday afternoon. Maximilian Philipp (47’) and Joao Victor (66’) were on target for the Green-and-Whites at the Volkswagen Arena, but goals from Jean-Paul Boetius (44’), Robin Quaison (54’) and Stefan Bell (77’) earned the visitors all three points.
Glasner made two changes to the team that drew with Leipzig last weekend. Goalkeeper Pavao Pervan replaced the injured Koen Casteels – who underwent surgery late last week – while Josip Brekalo was preferred to Yannick Gerhardt in attacking midfield.
Setback on stroke of half-time
VfL, who were wearing their new home shirt for the first time, enjoyed the lion’s share of possession early on but struggled to test Bo Svensson’s side in the final third. The visitors took full advantage of the hosts’ lack of incision, Boetius capitalising on a defensive mistake to slot home the opener just two minutes after being denied by Pervan.
Double change pays off
The Wolves responded early in the second half, Philipp finishing superbly from Paulo Otavio’s left-wing cross to restore parity. Xaver Schlager’s long-range effort flew narrowly wide as VfL sought to complete the turnaround, but Mainz retook the lead moments later when Quaison netted on the rebound after Pervan’s save from Karim Onisiwo.
Glasner reacted by making a double change, handing a Bundesliga debut to Tim Siersleben and throwing Victor into the fray. The move paid off just nine minutes later when the Brazilian found the corner with a magnificent long-range effort.
Defensive lapse costs Wolves
Not for the first time, however, VfL ended up paying the price for a lapse in concentration in defence. Bell rose unmarked following a corner to put Svensson’s team ahead for the third time in the match, and although Schlager fired over the bar and struck the post late on, VfL ended what has been a superb campaign with a narrow home defeat.
VfL Wolfsburg: Pervan – Mbabu (57’ Victor), Lacroix, Brooks (57’ Siersleben), Otavio (83’ Roussillon) – Schlager (83’ Gerhardt), Arnold, Baku, Philipp, Brekalo (69’ Ginczek) – Weghorst
1. FSV Mainz 05: Dahmen – St. Juste, Bell, Niakathe – da Costa (81‘ Mwene), Kohr, Brosinski (71‘ Fernandes), Barreiro (32‘ Latza), Boetius (81‘ Öztunali) – Onisiwo, Quaison (71‘ Szalai)
Goals: 0-1 Boetuis (44’), 1-1 Philipp (47’), 1-2 Quaison (54’), 2-2 Victor (66’), 2-3 Bell (77’)
Yellow cards: Arnold, Schlager, Philipp / Barreiro, Bell, Boetius
Referee: Bastian Dankert (Rostock)