The Wolves took an early lead though Lukas Nmecha’s second-minute strike but were 3-1 behind at the interval as the Billy Goats fought back through Dejan Ljubicic (22’), a Paulo Otavio own goal (31’) and a Florian Kainz penalty (45’+3). Nmecha got the Green-and-Whites back into the game in front of 25,654 fans at the Volkswagen Arena (79’), but Sargis Adamyan sealed the points for the visitors with an almost instant reply. As a result, Niko Kovac’s charges slipped down to 16th place for the time being. Their next chance to pick up a first league win of the season comes on Saturday 10 September (kick-off 15:30 CEST) when they face Eintracht Frankfurt away.
1-0 L. Nmecha (2’): What a start! Bartol Franjic drives down the right and times his pass perfectly to find Nmecha’s run. The forward shoots straight away and buries the ball into the net.
1-1 Ljubicic (22’): Kingsley Schindler and Kainz combine well before playing the ball into the penalty area to the unmarked Ljubicic, who fires an unstoppable shot past Koen Casteels into the far corner.
1-2 Otavio (31’, own goal): Such an unfortunate way to fall behind: Otavio reaches a Köln cross from the left ahead of his opponent but the ball ricochets off Casteels and back onto Otavio before rolling into the net.
1-3 Kainz (45’+3, pen.): After consulting VAR, the referee decides to award a penalty following a collision between Luca Waldschmidt and Jan Thielmann. Kainz steps up and converts the ensuing spot-kick.
2-3 L. Nmecha (79’): That’s more like it! Following a good attack, Mathias Svanberg crosses into the middle for Nmecha, whose powerful shot reduces the deficit. Could the comeback be on?
2-4 Adamyan (81’): No is the answer. Köln have the ball in the VfL net again almost straight away. A counter-attack leaves Adamyan with just Casteels to beat and his shot goes in off the post to quash any Wolfsburg hopes of picking up points.
Niko Kovac: “You have to say that Köln deserved to win. We made life hard for ourselves with some careless defending at the back again. A penalty, an own goal – these things happen. But we didn’t track back for their first goal and we weren’t aggressive enough. We’re just making too many mistakes, which you get punished for in the Bundesliga. Now we have to make sure that we stay calm. We need to focus on going into challenges and defending well. You won’t win any games if you always concede more than two.”
Steffen Baumgart: “We’re obviously pleased with the result, but with the performance too. We didn’t start the game well, although we have to admit that their goal was very well worked. My team found their groove again afterwards, played well and were able to turn the game around. It was a good performance today, in the second half too. There were two key moments in my opinion: their goals to make it 1-0 and 3-2. Our boys reacted well to conceding those. It's not an undeserved victory for us.”
Line-ups and stats
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Baku, Bornauw (46' Marmoush), van de Ven, Otavio (75' Kaminski) – Guilavogui, Arnold (75' Svanberg) – Franjic (74' F. Nmecha), Kruse, Waldschmidt (61' Paredes) – L. Nmecha
Subs: Pervan (GK), Fischer, Lacroix, Brekalo
1. FC Köln: Schwäbe – Schindler, Kilian, Hübers, Hector – Skhiri, Ljubicic (88' Martel), Duda (65' Maina), Kainz (88' Huseinbacic) – Thielmann (65' Adamyan), Tigges (78' Lemperle)
Subs: Horn (GK), Pedersen, Smajic, Strauch
Goals: 1-0 L. Nmecha (2'), 1-1 Ljubicic (22'), 1-2 Otavio (31', own goal), 1-3 Kainz (45'+3, pen.), 2-3 L. Nmecha (79'), 2-4 Adamyan (81')
Yellow cards: Van de Ven, Marmoush / Duda
Referee: Matthias Jöllenbeck (Müllheim)
Attendance: 25,.654 at Volkswagen Arena