It’s official: VfL Wolfsburg will be playing in the UEFA Champions League for the third time in the club’s history next season. In the concluding fixture of Bundesliga Matchday 33, Oliver Glasner’s side earned a 2-2 draw at RB Leipzig, who for their own part sealed the runners-up berth with one match to spare. Maximilian Philipp grabbed both of the Green-and-Whites’ goals (12, 45’+1), while Justin Kluivert (51’) and Marcel Sabitzer with a penalty (78’) scored for the Red Bulls.
Philipp leaves Wolves jubilant
Glasner made one change to his starting line-up for the visit to Leipzig: Josip Brekalo suffered an injury in the final training session before the game and was replaced by Yannick Gerhardt. VfL made a strong start and took the lead on 12 minutes. Maximilian Arnold, playing his 250th Bundesliga game, set up Philipp on the edge of the area, and he hammered the ball into the right corner in style. The hosts stepped things up in attack after that, but the VfL defence were alert and barely let anything through.
Philipp at the double
There were chances at both ends in what was a hard-fought contest. Wout Weghorst was denied by the post with a shot (25’), and minutes later at the other end, Koen Casteels thwarted Christopher Nkunku. The Wolves then increased their lead on the stroke of half-time. Ridle Baku whipped the ball into the middle from the right flank, where Philipp nipped in front of Ibrahima Konate to toe-poke the ball into the net – a brace and fifth goal of the campaign for the Dynamo Moscow loanee.
Leipzig launch comeback
Leipzig had to turn up the pressure in attack after the break – and they promptly did so in impressive fashion. The ball came via Sabitzer to Kluivert, who danced past Kevin Mbabu on the right of the penalty area before firing past Casteels, who had no chance (51’).
The hosts dominated the remainder of the half, with VfL increasingly camped in their own half, and the pressure eventually told in the 78th minute. After a tussle between Paulo Otavio and substitute Amadou Haidara in the Wolfsburg box, referee Felix Zwayer initially awarded a free kick for VfL before reviewing the incident and giving a penalty, which Sabitzer confidently converted. That was the last notable action in a game of two opposing halves, and in the end both sides were happy with the point. RB were confirmed as runners-up, while VfL booked their place in Europe’s premier club competition.
RB Leipzig: Gulacsi – Klostermann, Konate (63‘ Upamecano), Orban – Laimer (46‘ Haidara), Sabitzer, Forsberg (87‘ Kampl), Henrichs (46‘ Angelino), Kluivert (70‘ Hwang), Nkunku – Poulsen
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Mbabu, Lacroix, Brooks, Otavio – Schlager, Arnold, Baku (89’ Roussillon), Philipp (79‘ Guilavogui), Gerhardt – Weghorst
Goals: 0-1 Philipp (12‘), 0-2 Philipp (45‘+1), 1-2 Kluivert (51‘), 2-2 Sabitzer (78‘, pen)
Yellow cards: Henrichs, Konate, Sabitzer / Mbabu, Arnold, Baku
Referee: Felix Zwayer (Berlin)