VfL Wolfsburg’s wait to string a small run of victories together continues, as the Wolves played out a 1-1 (1-0) draw with VfB Stuttgart in the Volkswagen Arena. Divock Origi (24') put Martin Schmidt’s men in front before the break (24'), but ironically it was VfL’s winter departure Mario Gomez, who put the visitors back on level-terms (60'). This coming Wednesday, February 7th (kick-off 20:45 CET), the Wolves will be in action again, this time in the DFB-Cup, when they travel to FC Schalke 04.
Guilavogui and Origi return
Compared to the side that began in the 1-0 win over Hannover 96, the VfL coach welcomed two important figures back into his starting eleven. Josuha Guilavogui returned from suspension to replace Yannick Gerhardt in central midfield, whilst Origi got the nod aheaf of Victor Osimhen in attack. New-signing from Leverkusen Admir Mehmedi took a place on the bench.
Gomez goes close
The Wolves made a determined start and looked to pick holes in the VfB defence, but it was the guests who had the first chance on goal, as the unchallenged Gomez rose to head a corner, delivers by Thommy just wide of the post (10'). The Swabians had a brief phase of dominance, as Schmidt’s men initially struggled to generate any penetration on the attack. The only half-chance which was to materialise during that period was a shot from distance by Maximilian Arnold, which failed to cause a real threat (22').
However, just two minutes later, the Green-White fateful were off their seats and celebrating: Yunus Malli stole the ball off the toe of Beck and poked a pass through to Origi. The Belgian cut inside and unleased a shot from 22 meters out, leaving VfB keeper Ron-Robert Zieler without a chance, as the ball nestled in the far corner of the net (24'). The Wolves were now awake and pushed in search of a second, but the VfB keeper did well on a number of occasions, to deny Steffen (26') and Daniel Didavi (28', 29'). Just past the half-hour mark, Marcel Tisserand also got a shot away, but could not keep his effort on target (32'). Didavi’s combination with Origi could have added a second for the hosts shortly before half-time (38'), but the playmaker’s shot cleared the crossbar and ultimately, VfL took their 1-0 advantage into the break.
Gomez rewards VfB pressure
The visitors were forced to react in an attempt to find a way back into the tie and Korkut added another striker alongside Gomez, with Daniel Ginczek replacing Donis. The first chance of the half fell to VfB centre-half Benjamin Pavard, but turned the ball the wrong side of the post (50'), whilst at the other end, Guilavogui tested Zieler (57'). VfL’s Koen Casteels was twice called upon to deny VfB (58', 59'), but on the hour-mark, the keeper could do nothing to prevent the former Wolves striker from putting the visitors back on level terms – and not undeservedly. A corner from Thommy was turned back on goal by Aogo and Gomez jabbed out a foot to redirect the ball into the back of the VfL net.
The Swabians were inspired by their equaliser and drove forward in search of more, but the Wolves, for whom new-signing Mehmedi was introduced to make his debut in place of Steffen, weathered the storm, before creating chances of their own to turn the tie back in their favour. Jeffrey Bruma fired a free-kick over the bar (75') and a shot from Guilavogui proved too central to cause a problem (80'). The best opening for the Wolves in the second period fell to Didavi, who curled his shot just wide of the far left post (81'). The guests could also have snagged all three points, as Ginczek sent an effort agonisingly wide of the right post. At the end of two very different halves, the spoils were duly shared.
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Verhaegh, Bruma, Knoche, Tisserand – Guilavogui, Arnold, Steffen (67' Mehmedi), Didavi (81' Brekalo), Malli – Origi
VfB Stuttgart: Zieler – Beck, Baumgartl, Pavard, Aogo (87' Mangala) – Ascacibar, Gentner, Thommy, Donis (46' Ginczek), Insua – Gomez
Goals: 1-0 Origi (24'), 1-1 Gomez (60')
Yellow cards: - / Ascacibar, Mangala
Referee: Robert Hartmann (Wangen)
Attendance: 24,378 spectators on Saturday afternoon in the Volkswagen Arena