The Wolves kicked off the new 2022/23 Bundesliga season with a 2-2 draw at home to promoted outfit Werder Bremen. Niko Kovac's charges took an early lead through Lukas Nmecha (11') but two quickfire goals from the visitors via Niklas Füllkrug (21') and Leonardo Bittencourt (23') gave Bremen a deserved half-time lead. Substitute Josuha Guilavogui netted the all-important equaliser in the 84th minute to salvage a point for a Green-and-White side that struggled to click into gear overall.
The Wolves are next in action on Sunday 14 August (kick-off 17:30 CEST) away to reigning champions Bayern Munich on Bundesliga Matchday 2.
- 1-0 L. Nmecha (11'): Yes! Bremen start brightly but the Wolves are clinical. Patrick Wimmer dribbles past a couple of defenders before playing a superb pass behind the defence for Nmecha to run onto. The Germany international's finish is equally brilliant as he dinks the ball over Jiri Pavlenka for VfL's first league goal of the season.
- 1-1 Füllkrug (21'): How can Füllkrug be allowed so much time and space to shoot? Just when the Wolves were getting close to a second goal, the Bremen striker hits the equaliser, curling a shot from the left-hand corner of the penalty box into the far corner.
- 1-2 Bittencourt (23'): It's far too easy for Bremen, who again have too much space. Marvin Ducksch can take his time to cross from the left and find the unmarked Bittencourt inside the area, and his well-placed header into the left-hand side of the goal puts Werder in front.
- 2-2 Guilavogui (84'): Yesssss! The equaliser! And it’s Josh Guilavogui! A corner from the left is flicked on by Nmecha and ends up at the back post at the feet of the French substitute, who slams the ball low and hard into the far left corner!
Niko Kovac: "We saw two different halves today, especially in terms of our own game. We had a lot of defensive shortcomings in the first half, but going forward we did a couple of things we've been working on. The goal we scored through Lukas and the chance we created after that were ok, but defensively it wasn't good at all. Bringing on Josh in the second half gave us some stability. I'll take the 2-2 draw because Werder Bremen really played very well in the first half, even if they couldn't keep it up in the second period. But we were also much better after the break."
Ole Werner: "We've got mixed feelings after that game. Before kick-off we'd have said that a 2-2 draw away to VfL Wolfsburg is a decent result, and I think our performance over the 90 minutes was really good. It was a performance that not only gives us confidence going into our upcoming games, but also showed that we can compete in this league with our style of play – as long as we always push ourselves to the limit."
Line-ups and stats
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels - Baku (75‘ Kruse), Bornauw, Lacroix, van de Ven – Svanberg (46’ Guilavogui), Arnold – Wimmer (67‘ Waldschmidt), Marmoush (67’ Kaminski), Brekalo (56’ Wind) – L. Nmecha
Subs: Pervan (GK), Franjic, Otavio, Vranckx
SV Werder Bremen: Pavlenka – Pieper, Veljkovic, Friedl – Groß, Jung (69‘ Buchanan), Weiser (75‘ Agu), Bittencourt (75’ Rapp), Stage – Ducksch, Füllkrug (79’ Burke)
Subs: Zetterer (GK), Stark, Schmidt, Gruev, Woltemade
Goals: 1-0 L. Nmecha (11’), 1-1 Füllkrug (21’), 1-2 Bittencourt (23’), 2-2 Guilavogui (84’)
Yellow cards: van de Ven, L. Nmecha / Weiser, Pieper
Referee: Sascha Stegemann (Niederkassel)
Attendance: 28,015 at Volkswagen Arena