VfL Wolfsburg earned their second draw of the new Bundesliga season after a goalless stalemate at home to promoted side Schalke 04 on Bundesliga Matchday 3. Niko Kovac’s charges were by far the more dominant side in a game in which Koen Casteels stole the spotlight shortly before the interval by saving a penalty twice, the spot-kick having been retaken due to encroachment. After the break it was Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow’s turn to shine, the custodian keeping out a number of VfL’s efforts in front of a crowd of 26,959 at the Volkswagen Arena.
The result leaves the Green-and-Whites 14th in the Bundesliga table for the time being. The team’s next assignment is on Saturday 27 August away to UEFA Champions League participants RB Leipzig (kick-off 15:30 CEST).
In addition to Yannick Gerhardt and Jonas Wind, Patrick Wimmer was also absent following a collision in training. He was replaced by Jakub Kaminski, who made his full Bundesliga debut. The other change following last week’s trip to Bayern Munich was Paulo Otavio making his comeback from injury; Ridle Baku dropped to the bench as a result.
Niko Kovac: “It was a hard-fought game in the first half and both teams tried to defend well. It wasn’t easy to find a way through because Schalke were really compact at the back. We played very, very well in the second half. We pretty much dictated the entire 45 minutes, were good on the ball and kept causing Schalke problems. But if you don’t score you don’t win – that’s just the way it is in football. We had enough chances but we have to live with the point, even if I think we would have deserved to take all three.”
Frank Kramer: “I think we played well in the first half. We were very stable, were clear in what we wanted to do and we kept on trying to create chances. Unfortunately we didn’t make the most of our penalty just before half-time. We were put under increasing pressure after that, but that can happen when you play away against a good team like Wolfsburg. Overall, we produced a very compact and passionate performance. We’re pleased to take a point back home with us and we know what we still need to work on.”
Line-ups and stats
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Bornauw (46‘ Baku), Lacroix, van de Ven, Otavio – Arnold, Guilavogui – J. Kaminski (76’ Paredes), Svanberg (59‘ Kruse), Marmoush (59‘ Philipp) – L. Nmecha
Subs: Pervan (GK), Brekalo, Franjic, F. Nmecha, Bialek
Schalke 04: Schwolow – Brunner, Thiaw, Yoshida, Ouwejan (87’ Calhanoglu) – Krauß (87‘ Aydin), Latza (46‘ Flick), Kral, Zalazar (71‘ Larsson) – Terodde (71‘ Polter), Bülter
Subs: Fährmann (GK), M. Kaminski, Mollet
Yellow cards: Bornauw / Latza, Thiaw, Bülter
Referee: Felix Zwayer (Berlin)
Attendance: 26,959 at Volkswagen Arena