VfL Wolfsburg are through to the last eight of the DFB Cup after a 1-0 win at home to FC Schalke 04 on Wednesday evening. Wout Weghorst scored the only goal from a penalty rebound in the 40th minute as the Wolves made it to the quarter-finals of the competition for the tenth time in the club’s history. The draw for the next round will be made this Sunday, 7 February, during ARD’s ‘Sportschau’ programme, with the ties scheduled for 2 and 3 March.
Weghorst at the second attempt
Following three consecutive wins without conceding, Oliver Glasner fielded exactly the same starting XI who beat Freiburg last time out, and they went on the attack from the off at the Volkswagen Arena. Maximilian Arnold (8’), Paulo Otavio (10’) and Renato Steffen (12’) all fired some early warning shots, without making Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann work too much. But the visitors – who were clearly enjoying playing without the pressure of their Bundesliga position – were well in the game too. Koen Casteels had to punch away a dangerous cross from Amine Harit in the 14th minute, while four minutes later Maxence Lacroix managed to stop Matthew Hoppe as he bore down on goal.
The deadlock was then broken in the 40th minute. Xaver Schlager, who had struck the side-netting shortly before with a shot on the turn, was brought to ground in the penalty area by William. The referee did not initially deem it a foul, but he then pointed to the spot after an intervention by the video assistant referee. Weghorst’s spot-kick was well saved by Fährmann, but the Dutchman bundled the ball in from the rebound. Subsequently, Schalke came within a whisker of levelling on the stroke of half-time, when a brilliant block from Casteels denied Hoppe from point-blank range.
Half-time substitute Josip Brekalo announced his arrival in the game with a volley and a fierce low shot in the early stages of the second half. After that, the chances dried up, with VfL controlling the game and waiting in vain for the visitors to risk more going forward. That resulted in the contest abating a little, before Joao Victor popped up and forced a save from Fährmann (69’).
There was a higher tempo to the game now: first Weghorst toe-poked wide after a cross from the right (72’), and then Mark Uth had a great chance to equalise at the other end, but could not beat the alert Casteels after being played through by William. The Wolves’ lead was looking even shakier 11 minutes later, when Hoppe suddenly found himself clean through on goal, but the American skied the ball over. The closing minutes were anxious for the home side as the Royal Blues threw everything forward, but the Green-and-Whites weathered it and booked their place in the quarter-finals.
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Mbabu, Lacroix, Brooks, Otavio – Schlager (86’ Guilavogui), Arnold – Baku (46‘ Brekalo), Gerhardt (68‘ Philipp), Steffen (68‘ Victor) – Weghorst (85‘ Bialek)
FC Schalke 04: Fährmann – Becker, Thiaw, Nastasic, Kolasinac (62‘ Oczipka) – Mascarell (62‘ Boujellab), Stambouli, William (76‘ Mendyl), Uth, Harit – Hoppe
Goals: 1-0 Weghorst (40‘, pen)
Yellow cards: Brooks, Otavio / Thiaw, William
Referee: Felix Zwayer (Berlin)