The Wolves went into the game on the back of comprehensive victories over a Veltins XI (8-1), KSV Braunatal (7-0) and Lupo-Martini Wolfsburg (3-0), but fell behind after just six minutes at the August-Wenzel-Stadion when a loose ball broke to former VfL player Onel Hernandez, who beat goalkeeper Phillip Menzel with a powerful finish from inside the penalty area. Chances were few and far between for the rest of the half, with Norwich enjoying the lion’s share of possession but unable to add to their narrow lead before the interval.
Head coach Bruno Labbadia fielded a completely new XI after the break and the changes almost paid off within minutes of the restart, Jeffrey Bruma’s goal-bound header cleared off the line by Moritz Leitner. Norwich goalkeeper Michael McGovern was forced into action to deny Marvin Stefaniak just shy of the half-hour mark, before Riechedly Bazoer twice went close from long range. The Wolves eventually got the goal their second-half dominance deserved with 11 minutes remaining, Josuha Guilavogui rising unmarked inside the box and planting a firm header into the far corner to earn Labbadia’s troops a 1-1 draw.
“We deserved the draw”
VfL head coach Bruno Labbadia: “In the first half we needed 15 minutes to find our way into the game. You could tell that our opponents are further ahead in their preparations than us. We played good football but weren’t clinical enough in the final third and didn’t create many chances. We were a bit more aggressive in the second half - we were more compact and organised as a team. We deserved the draw in the end because we restricted them to very few opportunities, but we lacked the stamina to find spaces and our opponents were quick to close us down. It was a good test for us at this moment in time.”
VfL Wolfsburg (first half): Menzel - Verhaegh, Knoche, Uduokhai, Gerhardt - Camacho, Arnold - Brekalo, Malli, Mehmedi - Weghorst
VfL Wolfsburg (second half): Pervan - William, Bruma, Brooks, Franke - Bazoer (Jaeckel 71’), Guilavogui - Steffen, Rexhbecaj, Stefaniak - Ginczek
Norwich City: McGovern - Passlack (Aarons 86'), Klose, Zimmermann, Husband - Trybull (Godfrey 86') - Marshall (McLean 69'), Leitner, Stiepermann (Pukki 69'), Hernandez (Cantwell 86') - Srbeny (Rhodes 76')
Goals: 0-1 Hernandez (6'), 1-1 Guilavogui (79')
Yellow cards: - / Klose (59')