Casteels to the rescue
Hertha boss Pal Dardai made a double substitution at the break, introducing Krzysztof Piatek and Jhon Cordoba in place of Matheus Cunha and Nemanja Radonjic in attack. A few minutes later, former Germany international Sami Khedira was also forced off, with Matteo Guendouzi replacing him (53’). As the game went on, the threat from the Wolves increased. Weghorst (55’) and Schlager (57’) both got into promising positions in the Berliners’ box, but the second goal wouldn’t come.
At the other end, VfL keeper Koen Casteels pulled off an excellent save to parry Deyovaisio Zeefuik’s header from close range (58’). The Belgian made another vital stop towards the end of the game, saving Cordoba’s attempt with his feet. The rebound fell at the feet of Piatek, but Pongracic threw himself in the way and blocked the ball with his back. Suddenly referee Bastian Dankert blew for a penalty (79’), but with Cordoba already lining up the penalty, the video assistant intervened and Dankert, after several minutes in the Review Area, reversed his decision.
That sparked an eventful end to the game, with Piatek then hitting the side-netting seconds later. As the visitors pushed for an equaliser, the Wolves also looked for their opportunities to settle the contest. Substitute Bartosz Bialek forced Rune Jarstein into his first genuine save of the afternoon (86’), before Lacroix finally sealed the deal in the 89th minute, the Frenchman getting the better of Klünter from a corner and heading home to make it 2-0 to the Green-and-Whites. Pongracic was then shown his second yellow card in stoppage time following a foul on Piatek.
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Mbabu (77‘ Guilavogui), Lacroix, Pongracic, Otavio – Arnold (90‘+2 Mehmedi), Schlager (90‘+2 Philipp), Baku, Gerhardt, Steffen (86‘ Victor) – Weghorst (86‘ Bialek)
Hertha BSC: Jarstein – Klünter, Stark, Dardai – Zeefuik (74‘ Netz), Tousart, Khedira (53‘ Guendouzi), Mittelstädt, Darida (74‘ Lukebakio) – Matheus Cunha (46‘ Piątek), Radonjic (46‘ Cordoba)
Goals: 1-0 Klünter (Own goal, 37’), 2-0 Lacroix (89’)
Yellow cards: - / Otavio, Mbabu, Bialek
Second yellow card: - / Pongracic
Referee: Bastian Dankert (Schwerin)