VfL Wolfsburg slipped to defeat as the second half of the season officially got under way on Saturday afternoon, with Niko Kovac's side losing 2-1 away to Werder Bremen. Kevin Paredes (90') was on target for the Wolves, whose 11-game unbeaten sequence came to an end in front of 41,000 supporters at the Weserstadion. Niclas Füllkrug (24', 77') scored twice for Bremen, with the result leaving VfL in seventh place in the table.
1-0 Füllkrug (24' penalty): Bremen's first period of pressure does not end well for VfL as Jens Stage's ball hits Yannick Gerhardt's hand inside the penalty area. The referee does not immediately award a penalty but eventually does so following a VAR review. Füllkrug makes no mistake from the spot.
2-0 Füllkrug (77'): After Bremen just managed to stop Patrick Wimmer in his tracks, the home side grabb their second on the counter. Eren Dinkci's ball to the back post is met by Mitchell Weiser, who touches it back to the penalty spot, where Füllkrug is lurking to prod over the line.
2-1 Paredes (90'): A corner from the right lands at the feet of substitute Paredes. The American's powerful shot into the far corner makes for a tense finale, but his maiden Bundesliga goal was ultimately not enough for the Wolves.
Niko Kovac: "I think today was pretty much the game we told the team it would be against a battling Werder side. They played better than us in the first half. We weren't good, so we adjusted a few things at half-time and we improved after that. But overall, we woke up too late and deserved to lose the game."
Ole Werner: "We played very well in the first half and defended in a very disciplined manner. Wolfsburg made some changes during the break and that made it hard for us to get a foothold in attack in the second half. Still, we didn't really allow them to create many chances. The team's defensive performance today was fantastic, and we also scored our second goal at the right time. We battled to the end and saw the result over the line."
Line-ups and stats
Werder Bremen: Pavlenka – Pieper, Stark, Friedl – Weiser, Groß, Stage (80‘ Veljkovic), Jung (72‘ Buchanan), Schmidt (62‘ Gruev) – Füllkrug, Ducksch (72‘ Dinkci)
Subs: Zetterer (GK), Chiarodia, Mbom, Salifou, Burke
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Baku, Bornauw, van de Ven, Otavio (70‘ Lacroix) – Arnold, Svanberg, Gerhardt (46’ Guilavogui), Wimmer (82’ Paredes), Kaminski (46’ Marmoush) – Wind (82’ Waldschmidt)
Subs: Pervan (GK), Fischer, Franjic, Philipp
Goals: 1-0 Füllkrug (24‘, pen), 2-0 Füllkrug (77‘), 2-1 Paredes (90‘)
Yellow cards: Stark, Friedl, Weiser / Baku, van de Ven, Paredes
Referee: Daniel Siebert (Berlin)
Attendance: 41,000 at Weserstadion (sold out)