VfL Wolfsburg return home from Berlin with all three points in the bag thanks to an energetic display against Hertha BSC. The Wolves lined up with the same 11 players that started the 1-0 win over Bochum last week, and came from behind to record a 2-1 victory. They left it late, however, after the hosts opened the scoring through Dodi Lukebakio’s penalty on the hour-mark, but two U21 European Championship winners in Ridle Baku (74’) and substitute Lukas Nmecha (88’) turned the game around.
The Green-and-Whites are next in action on Sunday 29 August against RB Leipzig at the Volkswagen Arena (kick-off 17:30 CEST).
1-0 Lukebakio (penalty, 60th minute): A debatable spot-kick is awarded after referee Matthias Jöllenbeck consults VAR following contact between Jay Brooks and Lukebakio in the VfL penalty area. It’s a questionable one and looks like a harsh decision. Lukebakio dusts himself down and sends Koen Casteels the wrong way to break the deadlock.
1-1 Baku (74th minute): VfL grab a deserved equaliser thanks to a lightning-fast counter-attack. Xaver Schlager slides the ball into Baku’s path in the inside right channel, and the U21 European champion drives into the box and beats Alexander Schwolow at his near post with a powerful low drive.
1-2 L. Nmecha (88th minute): The Wolves have done it! A long throw lands at the feet of Josip Brekalo, who lays the ball off to fellow substitute Nmecha. He keeps his cool and smashes it into the net!
Line-ups and stats
Mark van Bommel: “First and foremost I’m very happy that we won. We dominated the first half and had a lot of the ball, but unfortunately we didn’t create any really clear-cut chances. But we had the right idea, which I liked a lot. The crowd was behind them and Hertha started taking control of the game, and then they got a penalty too. It was difficult to get back into the game after that and I’m very proud of the players that they managed to do so, and that they did so in the manner we want to play in.”
Pal Dardai: “There weren’t any clear goalscoring chances at either end in the first half. Everyone fought well and worked hard. We came out well in the second half. We invested a lot, played with greater courage and deserved to take the lead. During that spell of pressure from us we just couldn’t find the final pass to make it 2-0. Then they went on the counter and scored and it’s 1-1. Wolfsburg improved again after that and we lost a bit of our structure. Then at the end we outnumbered them at the throw-in, but one lapse in concentration and the ball was in the net. So Wolfsburg deserved to win. We weren’t able to press home our advantage at the right time.”
Hertha BSC: Schwolow – Pekarik, Stark, Boyata (85‘ Torunarigha), Plattenhardt – K.P. Boateng (43’ Jovetic), Ascacibar, Serdar (85’ Zeefuik) - Lukebakio, Selke (85‘ Tousard), Dilrosun (67‘ Richter)
Subs: Körber (Tor), Klünter, Mittelstädt, Darida
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Mbabu, Lacroix, Brooks, Roussillon (90‘ Gerhardt) – Schlager (90’ Guilavogui), Arnold – Baku, Philipp (70‘ L. Nmecha), Steffen (70‘ Brekalo) – Weghorst
Subs: Pervan (Tor), Bornauw, Mehmedi, Ginczek, Marmoush
Goals: 1-0 Lukebakio (60’, pen), 1-1 Baku (74’), 1-2 L. Nmecha (88’)
Yellow cards: Boateng / Mbabu, Roussillon
Referee: Matthias Jöllenbeck (Freiburg)
Attendance: 18,600 at Olympiastadion