Following a 3-0 victory over Vitesse Arnhem in their first friendly in Portugal, VfL Wolfsburg beat Croatian top-flight side HNK Rijeka by the same scoreline thanks to an Admir Mehmedi hat-trick at the Estadio Municipal de Albufeira to round off their winter training camp in Almancil.
After the final whistle, the Green-Whites returned home to Wolfsburg, where they will continue their preparations for the second half of the season following several intensive days of training on the Portuguese Algarve. Bruno Labbadia's men have their first competitive match of 2019 next weekend, when they travel to FC Schalke 04 on Sunday 20 January (kick-off 18:00 CET) as the Bundesliga campaign resumes.
Mehmedi on fire
The Croatians were well-organised in the first half and did not allow VfL much room going forward, but the Wolves eventually found a way through in the 42nd minute when Mehmedi diverted Josip Brekalo's shot into the net.
In the second half Labbadia's charges initially lacked the requisite pace in transition and were kept at arm's length by the disciplined Rijeka backline. As soon as the Green-Whites increased the tempo, however, they doubled their advantage, with Mehmedi heading in Renato Steffen's cross from the by-line (55'). The Switzerland international completed his hat-trick moments later following neat interplay from Maximilian Arnold and William (59'), allowing VfL to comfortably see the result home.
Bruno Labbadia: "Rijeka sat back very deep in the first half and that was a good exercise for us to keep the ball circulating. Overall it's a positive that in both games here we scored three times and didn't concede. Daniel [Ginczek] will have a medical examination on Monday. I hope it's nothing too serious because he's an important part of our team."
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – William (Verhaegh 62'), Knoche (Tisserand 62'), Brooks (Bruma 62'), Roussillon (Itter 62') – Guilavogui (Rexhbecaj 62') – Arnold (Stefaniak 62'), Gerhardt (Jung 62') – Steffen (Malli 62'), Ginczek (Brekalo 36'), Mehmedi (Weghorst 62')
Goals: 1-0 Mehmedi (42'), 2-0 Mehmedi (55'), 3-0 Mehmedi (59')
Yellow cards: None
Attendance: Approx. 200 at the Estadio Municipal de Albufeira