There was stoppage-time drama at the Volkswagen Arena on Saturday afternoon as VfL Wolfsburg equalised twice late on to salvage a point against Hertha BSC Berlin. For a long time, it looked like the game could be heading for a goalless draw but Javairo Dilrosun broke the deadlock for the visitors just after the hour mark. Yunus Malli equalised from the penalty spot, sparking a frantic final few minutes in which Ondrej Duda restored the Berliners’ lead, only for substitute Admir Mehmedi to equalise. The result means VfL remain unbeaten this season going into next weekend’s match at home to Freiburg.
Casteels returns between the sticks
Head coach Bruno Labbadia made just one change from the side that started in the 3-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen two weeks ago. First-choice goalkeeper Koen Casteels, who missed the Leverkusen game to attend the birth of his daughter, returned between the sticks in place of Pavao Pervan. The Wolves lined up in a 4-3-3 formation, with Renato Steffen and Josip Brekalo either side of Wout Weghorst in attack.
Lively start from the Wolves
The hosts started with the confidence of a side who had won their opening two Bundesliga games. In just the second minute, the Green-Whites got their first corner which found its way to Jérôme Roussillon, whose fierce volley was tipped over the bar by Hertha custodian Rune Jarstein. The routine was repeated two minutes later but this time Roussillon’s effort from outside the area narrowly missed the target. The game quietened down after that lively start, with Hertha displaying their characteristic defensive solidity without threatening much themselves. VfL couldn’t make their dominance count and the first half ended goalless.
Flurry of late goals
The visitors from the capital showed more attacking intent in the early stages of the second period, without really testing Casteels in goal – until the 61st minute. William gave the ball away from a throw-in and youngster Dilrosun took full advantage, driving forward before finishing confidently past the VfL custodian. The Wolves almost responded minutes later when Steffen cut the ball back to Weghorst, but his effort was saved by Jarstein. Labbadia threw on Mehmedi, Daniel Ginczek and Malli but it looked like Hertha were going to hold on until an incredible ending unfolded. First, the Wolves were awarded a penalty when Maximilian Arnold was bundled over – although the referee initially gave a free-kick. Malli converted the spot-kick but in the first minute of added time, Duda restored Hertha’s lead with a low free-kick under the wall that deceived everyone. However, the Wolves equalised again when John Anthony Brooks headed down a cross for Mehmedi to fire in, and it ended 2-2.
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – William, Knoche, Brooks, Roussillon – Camacho, Gerhardt (Malli 83’), Arnold – Steffen (Ginczek 67’), Weghorst, Brekalo (Mehmedi 62’)
Hertha BSC: Jarstein – Lazaro, Stark, Torunarigha (Lustenberger 74’), Plattenhardt – Maier, Grujic – Kalou (Klunter 90’), Duda, Dilrosun – Ibisevic (Selke 74’)
Goals: Dilrosun (61’), Malli (87’ pen), Duda (90+1’), Mehmedi (90+3)
Yellow cards: Mehmedi / Grujic, Klunter
Referee: Christian Dingert (Thallichtenberg)