It was certainly a game of two halves at the Volkswagen Arena. After a slow start to the match, Kaan Ayhan gave Fortuna the lead (30’) before Admir Mehmedi ensured the score was level at the break. VfL then ripped the visitors apart in the second half, scoring three goals in the space of nine minutes before Weghorst completed his treble late on. The Green-Whites thus go into the international break on a high before returning to action with a trip to Borussia Dortmund on Saturday 30 March.
Despite the heavy defeat to Bayern Munich last weekend, head coach Bruno Labbadia kept faith with the same starting line-up. Renato Steffen and Felix Klaus were both fit enough to be on the bench having suffered from illness during the week.
Fortuna lead quickly cancelled out
The first half-hour of the contest was relatively uneventful, with the Wolves having the majority of the play but failing to create any real chances against the tightly packed Düsseldorf defence. That was until the visitors broke the deadlock out of the blue when Ayan curled a free-kick over the wall and into the top corner. However, the Green-Whites came up with the perfect reply just four minutes later when Mehmedi broke free and chipped the ball over Fortuna goalkeeper Michael Rensing. Referee Bastian Dankert consulted with the video assistant but the goal stood and the first half ended with the score at 1-1.
Second-half goal fest
The tempo of the match picked up again after the break and the Wolves took the lead in the 54th minute. Jérôme Rousillon’s shot was parried by Rensing at the near post but Weghorst reacted quickly to convert the rebound. That opened the floodgates and the Dutchman turned provider just three minutes later, heading the ball across goal for Knoche to tap in and make it 3-1. Labbadia’s men weren’t done yet, as Weghorst netted his second goal of the game moments later with a simple finish after an excellent counter-attack. The chances continued to roll but it was the visitors who scored next, Benito Raman beating the offside trap and giving his team hope. However, the VfL didn’t stop attacking and Weghorst completed his hat-trick in the closing stages to cap off an incredible second half.
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – William, Brooks, Knoche, Roussillon (Uduokhai 84’) – Arnold, Gerhardt, Guilavogui – Mehmedi (Steffen 80’), Brekalo (Klaus 68’) – Weghorst
Fortuna Düsseldorf: Rensing – Zimmermann, Ayhan, Kaminski, Gießelmann – Bodzek (Sobottka 78’) – Lukebakio (Usami 78’), Barkok (Karaman 61’), Stöger, Raman – Hennings
Goals: Ayan (30’), Mehmedi (34’), Weghorst (54’), Knoche (57’), Weghorst (59’), Raman (65’), Weghorst (88’)
Yellow cards: Guilavogui / Lukebakio
Referee: Bastian Dankert (Rostock)