Mehmedi und Victor kämpfen um den Ball | VfL Wolfsburg.
20.09.2020
First Team

Wolves held by Leverkusen

VfL Wolfsburg drew 0-0 at home to Bayer Leverkusen in their Bundesliga opener.

Mehmedi und Victor kämpfen um den Ball | VfL Wolfsburg.

The Wolves twice went close to breaking the deadlock in the first half, before Admir Mehmedi had a goal disallowed early in the second. Joao Victor could have won it for the Green-and-Whites in the closing stages, but the winger was dispossessed by Lukas Hradecky as he tried to take the ball around the Leverkusen goalkeeper.

Oliver Glasner’s charges return to action on Thursday 24 September (kick-off 20:15 CEST), when they host Desna Chernihiv in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League.

Key changes in defence

With captain Josuha Guilavogui suspended following his red card at home to Bayern Munich on the final day of last season, head coach Glasner handed US international defender John Brooks his first competitive start of the campaign. Jerome Roussillon was preferred to Paulo Otavio at left-back, while Renato Steffen was moved to right-back in place of the rested Felix Klaus. Victor took Steffen’s place on the right wing in the only other change from Thursday’s win over FK Kukesi.

Brooks goes close

While Leverkusen enjoyed more of the ball in the early stages at the Volkswagen Arena, Peter Bosz’s team rarely tested Koen Casteels in the VfL goal. Indeed, chances were few and far between at both ends of the pitch, with Xaver Schlager and Josip Brekalo blazing over the crossbar from distance and Florian Wirtz failing to get a shot off from a promising position at the other end.

Maximilian Arnold almost caught Hradecky off guard directly from a corner, his inswinging delivery striking the foot of the post before bouncing clear. Brooks then sent a free header flying over the crossbar, before Weghorst’s goal-bound effort was smothered by Hradecky as the Wolves finished the half in the ascendancy.

Livewire Victor fails to beat Hradecky

Mehmedi thought he had put VfL ahead 12 minutes into the second period, but the Switzerland international’s confident finish from Victor’s square pass was disallowed for an offside against the Brazilian. Moussa Diaby nearly capitalised on a failed clearance by the Wolves defence not long after the hour, only to shoot straight at the onrushing Casteels.

Victor looked the most likely to make a breakthrough in the dying embers of the match, but the winger was first thwarted by Hradecky before seeing a close-range shot blocked by a Leverkusen defender. Patrik Schick squandered the game’s final opening, directing a free header over the crossbar from Nadiem Amiri’s free-kick as the teams shared their first goalless draw in 50 competitive meetings.

VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels - Steffen, Lacroix, Brooks, Roussillon (Paulo Otavio 69’) - Schlager, Arnold - Victor (Gerhardt 78’), Mehmedi (Klaus 69’), Brekalo - Weghorst

Bayer Leverkusen: Hradecky - L. Bender, S. Bender, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven (Wendell 76’) - Aranguiz - Wirtz (Baumgartlinger 85’), Demirbay (Amiri 63’) - Bellarabi (Pohjanpalo 85’), Alario (Schick 63’), Diaby

Goals: None

Yellow cards: Schlager / Aranguiz, Baumgartlinger

Referee: Sven Jablonski (Bremen)

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