The Wolves got off to the perfect start under new head coach Florian Kohfeldt, posting a 2-0 victory away to Bayer 04 Leverkusen to end a run of eight games without a win. The Green-and-Whites scored twice early in the second half through Lukas Nmecha (48’) und Maximilian Arnold (51’) to pave the way for all three points, while Koen Casteels also saved a late penalty from Lucas Alario after Maxence Lacroix was sent off in stoppage time.
VfL are in action again on Tuesday 2 November when they welcome FC Salzburg to the Volkswagen Arena in the UEFA Champions League (kick-off 18:45 CET). Kohfeldt’s charges then face FC Augsburg at home on Saturday 6 November (kick-off 15:30 CET).
0-1 L. Nmecha (48’): A blistering start to the second half! Substitute Dodi Lukebakio dribbles past a number of Leverkusen players down the left and crosses into the middle. The ball bounces over a defender’s leg and Nmecha is well placed to finish!
0-2 Arnold (51’): Arnold puts daylight between the teams! Again the goal arrives after build-up down the left as Paulo Otavio’s delivery finds Nmecha, but his header is well saved by Lukas Hradecky. Yannick Gerhardt’s follow-up on the rebound is blocked, but the ball falls to Arnold, and VfL’s record appearance maker in the Bundesliga smashes it home!
Florian Kohfeldt: “After a balanced first half we got the two goals straight after the break and that was obviously ideal – even if we did manage to create some really good opportunities subsequently, particularly through Ridle. The 2-0 lead obviously made it easier for us and we defended well – at least until the end when Maxence got the red card. But Koen saved the penalty, which was nice, although to be honest I’d probably rather have conceded the goal and not had the red card. I’m really pleased with the team in terms of how we defended and the intensity we showed. Our counter-pressing was good. We can probably work on our positional game and finding a way out when we’re under pressure, but it’s a lot easier to work on things like that after a victory.”
Gerardo Seoane: “The first half was very even, but we made three or four positional errors in the opening minutes of the second half and weren’t alert enough, so we were punished. We had more of the possession afterwards but didn’t manage to find a way through. We lacked that incision.”
Line-ups and stats
Bayer 04 Leverkusen: Hradecky –Tah, Tapsoba, Hincapie (54‘ Paulinho) – Frimpong, Bakker – Palacios (69’ Andrich) , Demirbay – Adli (68’ Amiri), Wirtz – Alario
Subs: Lomb (GK), Lunev (GK), Kossounou, Retsos, Sinkgraven, Bravo, Solanilla
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Lacroix, Guilavogui, Brooks – Baku (80’ F. Nmecha), Steffen (46’ Otavio) - Vranckx, Arnold – Philipp (46’ Lukebakio), Gerhardt (69’ Mbabu) - L. Nmecha (90’ +2 Ginczek)
Subs: Pervan (GK), Bornauw, van de Ven
Goals: 0-1 L. Nmecha (48‘), 0-2 Arnold (51‘)
Yellow cards: Tah, Alario, Wirtz / Brooks, Steffen
Other: Lacroix was sent off for a professional foul in the fourth minute of stoppage time, but Casteels saved Alario’s penalty.
Referee: Deniz Aytekin (Oberasbach)
Attendance: 20,123 at BayArena