VfL Wolfsburg finally got their first win of 2021 on Matchday 17, with head coach Oliver Glasner’s men running out comfortable 2-0 winners away to 1. FSV Mainz 05. Bartosz Bialek (65’) and Wout Weghorst (79’) were on the scoresheet for the Wolves on Tuesday night in a victory that makes the table look even better for the Green-and-Whites, at least for the moment, as they sit fifth.
The second half of the season’s fixtures get under way on Saturday 23 January at 15:30 CET, when VfL take on Bayer Leverkusen at the Volkswagen Arena.
Changes up front
Midfield general Maximilian Arnold was back in the team after his red-card suspension, and Glasner also gave starts to Maximilian Philipp and Josip Brekalo, making a total of three changes to the line-up after the draw against fellow high-flyers Leipzig. Kevin Mbabu, Josuha Guilavogui and Yannick Gerhart made way for that trio and began the match on the bench.
Chances at a premium
VfL dominated possession from the off but found it difficult to break through up front and any flowing moves were soon smothered out by the home team. Fittingly therefore, the Wolves’ first chance came from a free-kick, with Arnold floating the ball from 20 metres out over the wall and on to the roof of the net (22’). Ridle Baku then made his way forward but could only find the outside of the net with a fierce shot against his former club (34’). Koen Casteels meanwhile was reduced to the role of spectator in the first half.
The second half continued in a similar vein to the first. VfL were still the more active team but they again struggled to make all their possession count where it mattered most. Inspiration was to come from the bench, however, and a mere five minutes after a substitution was made, Bialek found himself right in front of the goal thanks to some excellent work from Arnold and made no mistake, giving the Green-and-Whites the lead (65’).
Weghorst then made the most of a mix-up in the home defence, picking up the ball and bearing down on Robin Zentner before chipping the advancing keeper to perfection (79’). That goal made it 2-0, which is how the match finished, and also meant that Weghorst became the first player in the history of the club to score at least 12 goals in the first half of a season.
1. FSV Mainz 05: Zentner – Bell (74‘ Szalai), Hack, Niakhate – Öztunali (62‘ Tauer), Latza, Barreiro, Boetius (62 ‘Kohr), Mwene – Onisiwo, Burkardt (82‘ Quaison)
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Baku (75‘ Mbabu), Lacroix, Brooks, Otavio – Schlager, Arnold (87‘ Guilavogui) – Steffen, Philipp (75’ Gerhardt), Brekalo (60‘ Bialek) – Weghorst (88‘ Mehmedi)
Goals: 0:1 Bialek (65‘), 0:2 Weghorst (79‘)
Yellow cards: Boetius / Philipp, Guilavogui
Referee: Sören Storks (Velen)