VfL Wolfsburg suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday afternoon, losing 3-1 away to TSG Hoffenheim. Ridle Baku put VfL in front with a delightful curling shot in the 25th minute. The Wolves were in control after that but couldn’t make the most of their possession. The turning point came on the stroke of half-time, when Andrej Kramaric equalised for the hosts from a corner. The second half was an even affair to begin with, until Christoph Baumgartner put TSG 2-1 up in the 73rd minute. Pavel Kaderabek sealed the result eight minutes later, converting the rebound after a free-kick.
With his team playing twice next week, VfL head coach Mark van Bommel freshened things up with four changes from the 1-1 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt. Jerome Roussillon, John Anthony Brooks, Baku and Maximilian Philipp came in for Yannick Gerhardt, Sebastiaan Bornauw, Renato Steffen and Luca Waldschmidt, who were all named among the substitutes. There was one change for the home side, Sargis Adamyan replacing Jacob Bruun Larsen.
0-1 (25th minute): VfL counter quickly with Philipp, who feeds Baku on the left, and the U21 European champion coolly bends the ball into the far corner.
1-1 (45+2nd minute): Hoffenheim equalise with the last kick of the half. Kramaric is left free to head in from a corner.
2-1 (73rd minute): The hosts take the lead. Florian Grillitsch’s pass releases Kaderabek, who carries the ball down the right flank and sends it into the penalty area, where Baumgartner is in space to fire in from 10 metres.
3-1 (81st minute): TSG are celebrating again as David Raum’s free-kick hits the inside of the post. Kaderabek is alert to it and reacts quickest to score the rebound.
Maximilian Arnold made his 257th Bundesliga appearance in a green and white shirt at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena, overtaking sporting director Marcel Schäfer as the Wolves’ record outfield appearance maker in the German top flight.
The coaches’ reactions
Mark van Bommel: “It’s a shame we didn’t take all three points because it’s a game we shouldn’t have lost. I think we played well, just as we set out to do. We were well prepared for Hoffenheim and did well in the first half. If we’d gone 2-0 up then that would have killed the game off. Instead, we gave them the chance to get back into it just before half-time. That came at a bad time for us. Then they scored out of the blue to make it 2-1 in the second half and then 3-1 after a free-kick. Hoffenheim were more clinical than we were.”
Sebastian Hoeneß: “Today we faced a difficult team, just as we expected. Despite going 1-0 down, my team didn’t let their heads drop. Our goal to make it 2-1 was the key to our success. We ground out the win after that.”
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim: Baumann – Kaderabek, Vogt (85‘ Posch), Richards, Raum – Grillitsch (85‘ Geiger), Samassekou, Adamyan (70‘ Larsen), Kramaric, Baumgartner (79‘ Akpoguma) – Bebou (70‘ Rutter)
Subs: Pentke (GK), Gacinovic, Skov, Dabbur
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Mbabu, Lacroix, Brooks, Roussillon (83’ Bornauw) – Guilavogui, Arnold, Baku (76’ L. Nmecha), Philipp (76’ Waldschmidt), Lukebakio – Weghorst
Subs: Pervan (GKTor), Gerhardt, F. Nmecha, Steffen, Vranckx, Ginczek
Goals: 0-1 Baku (25‘), 1-1 Kramaric (45‘+2), 2-1 Baumgartner (73‘), 3-1 Kaderabek (81‘)
Yellow cards: Kaderabek, Grillitsch / Arnold, Roussillon
Referee: Daniel Siebert (Berlin)
Attendance: 8,523 at PreZero-Arena