First Team

Resilient Wolves win eventful cup clash

VfL Wolfsburg beat Hallescher FC 5-3 (after extra time) in the first round of the DFB Cup.

The match burst into life shortly before half-time, with the third-tier hosts taking a shock lead before Wout Weghorst immediately levelled for the Wolves. Oliver Glasner’s side then twice took the lead in the second half only for Hallescher to equalise both times, before the Wolves finally settled it with two goals early in extra time to book their place in the next round.

Debut for Joao Victor

Glasner included just one of his five summer signings in the starting line-up, with Joao Victor lining up on the left side of attack in a new 3-4-3 formation. Kevin Mbabu and Xaver Schlager were both among the substitutes.

Dramatic end to first half

As was to be expected, the Wolves dominated possession right from the off and thought they had taken the lead in the 14th minute when Weghorst headed in Maximilian Arnold’s free-kick, but the goal was disallowed for offside. Arnold then went close himself in the 26th minute with a fierce shot that was tipped over the bar by Hallescher goalkeeper Kai Eisele. Glasner’s men continued to search for the opener and had another good opportunity when Felix Klaus found some space on the edge of the area, but he shot straight at Eisele. The home side were starting to venture forward more by this point, and they took a shock lead in the 43rd minute when Felix Drinkuth latched onto a headed clearance and hammered the ball into the net with the help of a slight deflection. The lead lasted a matter of seconds though, as Victor made his way down the left flank before picking out Weghorst, who had time and space to slot in the equaliser. 

Wolves pegged back twice

VfL went on the attack immediately at the start of the second half and took the lead just four minutes in. Victor again provided the assist, teeing up Yannick Gerhardt to sweep the ball into the bottom corner. It was then the reverse of what happened before the break as it was Hallescher’s turn to equalise straight away, when Sebastian Mai headed past Koen Casteels. However, the Green-Whites again responded well and regained the lead in the 70th minute. Roussillon made a marauding run down the left and when his cut-back was spilled by Eikele, William was on hand to stab the ball home. The game then quietened down for a period, with both sides making substitutions, before it burst into life again at the end of the normal time. VfL captain Josuha Guilavogui was sent off for a second bookable offence and then two minutes into added time, Hallescher again levelled, this time through substitute Mathias Fetsch, to take the match into extra time.

Quickfire goals seal victory

The topsy-turvy nature of the contest continued after the re-start as the Wolves took the lead once again after just two minutes, with Robin Knoche heading in from William’s cross. This time though, the visitors built on their lead and doubles their advantage just three minutes later courtesy of substitute Josip Brekalo. That finally put the matter to bed and there was no way back for the plucky hosts after that, with Glasner’s 10 men managing to see the game out in the second half of extra time.

Hallescher FC: Eisele – Kastenhofer (Hansch 99‘), Mai, Landgraf – Göbel (Fetsch 79‘), Bahn, Jopek, Drinkuth – Sohm, Boyd, Nietfeld (Papadopoulos 75‘)

VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Knoche, Guilavogui, Brooks – William (Mbabu 115’), Arnold, Gerhardt, Roussillon (Steffen 84’) – Klaus (Brekalo 65’), Weghorst, Joao Victor (Uduokhai 90+1’)

Goals: Drinkuth (43’), Weghorst (44’), Gerhardt (49’), Mai (57’), William (70‘), Fetsch (90+2‘), Knoche (92‘), Brekalo (95‘)

Yellow cards: Kastenhofer, Landgraf, Mai / Brooks, Guilavogui

Red cards: Guilavogui

Attendance: 13,500

Referee: Markus Schmidt (Stuttgart)