First Team

Last-gasp Arnold strike downs Gladbach

Maximilian Arnold scored in second-half stoppage time as VfL Wolfsburg beat Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-1 at the Volkswagen Arena on Sunday.

Xaver Schlager’s first Bundesliga goal gave the Wolves a deserved lead in the first half, but Breel Embolo fired the visitors level less than two minutes later. VfL fashioned the better openings in the second half and eventually sealed all three points when Arnold found the bottom corner in the first minute of time added on.

100 not out for Casteels

The Wolves made four changes to the team that lost 1-0 at Freiburg in their last league match. Schlager, Robin Knoche, Kevin Mbabu and Renato Steffen - all four of whom started the Europa League win against Saint-Etienne on Thursday - kept their place in the team, while goalkeeper Koen Casteels was handed his 100th Bundesliga appearance for the Green-and-Whites. The Belgian signed a new contract with VfL in midweek, tying him to the club until 2024.

Schlager opens account

Joao Victor almost gave Oliver Glasner’s side the perfect start after just five minutes, but the winger’s effort from the corner of the penalty area clipped the inside of the post and bounced clear. The Wolves continued to pin the visitors back, though, and their pressure eventually paid off when Schlager - making his first league appearance since August - drilled Jerome Roussillon’s delivery into the top corner from close range.

Embolo fired past Casteels at the far post to restore parity just 85 seconds after Schlager’s opener, but Glasner’s charges remained the dominant force and went close to a second goal before the break. Josuha Guilavogui’s fierce long-range effort was well held by Yann Sommer, before Robin Knoche headed straight at the Switzerland custodian from Victor’s delivery.

Better late than never

Wout Weghorst blazed over the bar as VfL sought to maintain their tempo and dominance from the first half, before the Dutchman drilled a low free-kick straight into the Gladbach wall from the edge of the box. Arnold flashed a powerful effort past the far post moments later, but the Green-and-Whites were fortunate not to fall behind when Casteels somehow diverted Plea’s goal-bound strike wide of the post.

The chances kept coming for the Wolves, though, with Victor shooting inches wide from a tight angle and Mbabu’s flicked header striking the post. John Anthony Brooks and second-half substitute Josip Brekalo also went close in the second half, but it was Arnold who eventually clinched VfL’s first home league win since October with a brilliantly taken volley after the visitors had failed to clear Mbabu’s long throw-in.

VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels - Mbabu, Knoche, Brooks, Roussillon - Schlager (Gerhardt 77’), Guilavogui, Arnold - Victor (Klaus 87’), Weghorst, Steffen (Brekalo 59’)

Borussia Mönchengladbach: Sommer - Lainer (Beyer 46’), Ginter, Elvedi, Bensebaini - Strobl - Benes (Stindl 77’), Hofmann - Embolo - Plea, Thuram (Herrmann 72’)

Attendance: 25,000

Goals: Schlager (13’), Embolo (15’), Arnold (90+1’)

Yellow cards: Brooks, Roussillon, Schlager / Embolo, Strobl, Beyer

Referee: Dr. Felix Brych (Munich)



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