After a poor first half in which Fortuna led through the only clear-cut goalscoring opportunity, VfL were much-improved after the break. Despite playing almost the entire half with ten men following Marin Pongracic’s red card, they levelled through Renato Steffen shortly afterwards and held on for a point. Next up for Oliver Glasner’s side is a trip to TSG Hoffenheim on Saturday 15 February (kick-off 15:30 CET).
Glasner keeps faith with same side
After last Sunday’s 4-2 win at SC Paderborn, Glasner saw no reason to alter his starting line-up as he named an unchanged side for the only third time this season. Wout Weghorst, who missed the last game with a thigh injury, returned but was only on the bench.
Flat first half
The visitors made the better start to the game and duly took the lead after 13 minutes when Matthias Zimmermann beat Koen Casteels at the near post with a first-time finish. The Wolves fashioned their first real attack in the 21st minute, which ended with Steffen firing just over from the edge of the area. VfL were having the majority of the possession now but without really penetrating Fortuna’s three-man backline.
The rest of the half saw little in the way of goalmouth action and was also interrupted by two injuries, with William forced off for the Wolves and Kaan Ayhan limping off for the visitors. Shortly before the break, Xaver Schlager warmed the gloves of Florian Kastenmeier with a shot from just outside the box, but the scoreline remained the same.
Wolves better despite red card
Glasner’s men were much livelier after the break – in fact, the first five minutes of the second half were more eventful than the entire opening period. The Wolves were reduced to ten men just minutes after the restart, when Pongracic was adjudged – after a VAR review – to have used an elbow when tussling with Alfredo Morales at a free-kick. That didn’t prove to be a hindrance, though, as the equaliser arrived just two minutes later when Steffen headed home from Admir Mehmedi’s pinpoint cross.
Despite their numerical advantage, the Wolves pushed on although they were given a warning on the hour-mark when Zimmermann’s cross was fired just over by Erik Thommy from close range. Both sides went in search of a winner in the latter stages of the game, with Mehmedi failing to get clean strikes away from two decent opportunities, but it ended in a deserved point apiece.
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – William (Mbabu 27’), Knoche, Pongracic, Roussillon – Guilavogui – Schlager, Arnold – Mehmedi – Steffen (Victor 74’), Ginczek (Weghorst 46’)
Fortuna Düsseldorf: Kastenmeier – Ayhan (Jörgensen 40’), Hoffmann, Suttner – Zimmermann, Morales, Stöger, Berisha, Thommy (Pledl 74’) – Hennings, Tekpetey (Ampomah 61’)
Goals: Zimmermann (13’), Steffen (50’)
Yellow cards: - / Hoffmann
Red cards: Pongracic (48’)
Referee: Tobias Stieler (Hamburg)