After taking the lead in only the ninth minute through Marcel Tisserand, the Wolves had to dig in and defend for much of the second half to claim their third league win of the season. Their attention now turns back to the UEFA Europa League, with their second group match away to AS Saint-Étienne taking place on Thursday 3 October (kick-off 17:55 CEST).
Coach Oliver Glasner made two changes from the team that started in the 1-1 draw at home to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Monday. There was a switch at the back as Jeffrey Bruma came in for his first start for VfL since May 2018, with Josuha Guilavogui moving into midfield and replacing Yannick Gerhardt. The other alteration saw Jerome Roussillon replace Renato Steffen on the left wing.
Tisserand heads Wolves in front
After a quiet start to proceedings at the Opel Arena, VfL took the lead in the ninth minute of the game. Maximilian Arnold played a short one-two from a corner before whipping the ball into the box, where Tisserand rose highest to head it into the top corner. Nine minutes later, the Wolves had a good opportunity to double their advantage after a brilliant move started and finished by Wout Weghorst, whose volley from Admir Mehmedi’s cross was saved by Robin Zentner.
The home side began to threaten more as the half wore on and created their first real opportunity on 28 minutes, when Jean-Paul Boëtius’ header from Daniel Brosinski’s cross was pushed away by the alert Pavao Pervan. However, their best chance came in the final minute of the half. Again it came from a Brosinski cross, but this time it was Robin Quaison who couldn’t find a way past Pervan from close range.
Glasner’s men stand firm
The Green-Whites started the second period quickly and could have made it 2-0 in the 51st minute. William burst into the penalty area and squared to Weghorst but from just a few yards out, the Dutchman got the ball stuck under his feet and Mainz cleared. The contest then became increasingly frantic and heated as both teams went in search of the decisive second goal. Mainz substitute Alexandru Maxim gave the Wolves a scare in the 68th minute when his deflected shot landed on the roof of the net.
VfL had their backs against the wall for the closing stages as the hosts pushed for an equaliser but despite some nervy moments, Pervan was never really troubled until the last minute of normal time. The Wolves goalkeeper was unable to hold onto a cross and the ball dropped to striker Adam Szalai, but Tisserand was the hero again as he blocked the ball on the line to ensure his goal remained the difference.
1. FSV Mainz 05: Zentner – Pierre-Gabriel (Maxim 62’), St. Juste, Niakhaté, Brosinski – Baku, Kunde, Fernandes (Awoniyi 76’) – Boëtius – Quaison (Onisiwo 46‘), Szalai
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Knoche, Bruma, Tisserand – William, Arnold (Gerhardt 71’), Guilavogui, Roussillon – Mehmedi (Joao Victor 84‘), Weghorst, Brekalo (Klaus 65’)
Goals: Tisserand (9’)
Yellow cards: Niakhaté, Maxim / Tisserand, Knoche, Weghorst
Referee: Dr. Felix Brych (Munich)