First Team

Wolves earn first win of 2020

VfL Wolfsburg secured their first three points of the calendar year, beating ten-man SC Paderborn 4-2 in a topsy-turvy encounter at the Benteler-Arena.

Ben Zolinski gave the hosts the lead midway through the first half, but Robin Knoche equalised for VfL before Gerrit Holtmann was given his marching orders for the hosts. Daniel Ginczek’s brace put the Wolves firmly in the driving seat, before Sebastian Vasiliadis’ powerful strike gave Paderborn hope. VfL had the last laugh, though, Maximilian Arnold curling a trademark free-kick into the bottom corner to secure the Green-and-Whites’ first league win of 2020.

Pongracic makes debut

Oliver Glasner made three changes to the Wolves side that lost 2-1 at home to Hertha Berlin last weekend. Ginczek replaced the injured Wout Weghorst in attack, while winter signing Marin Pongracic was handed his debut for the club in place of Marcel Tisserand. The Congolese defender was joined on the Wolves bench by Kevin Mbabu, with William preferred in the right-back position.

Wolves fight back to lead

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the teams’ recent form, Paderborn made the brighter start and went close to taking an early lead when Dennis Srbeny tested Koen Casteels’ reflexes with a fierce effort from the corner of the penalty area. Paderborn keeper Leopold Zingerle did well to deny Ginczek and Admir Mehmedi not long afterwards, but the hosts broke the deadlock when Zolinski slotted Christian Strohdiek’s flick-on past Casteels from point-blank range.

The Wolves responded superbly and levelled just five minutes later, Knoche nodding Arnold’s teasing free-kick into the far corner with the faintest of touches. The contest tilted further in the visitors’ favour when Paderborn defender Holtmann was shown a straight red card for lashing out at Renato Steffen, who was booked for his involvement in the incident. VfL wasted little time in capitalising on their man advantage, Ginczek powering Xaver Schlager’s pass into the corner to give the Green-and-Whites a slender half-time lead.

Ginczek strikes again

Paderborn, despite their numerical disadvantage, took the game to VfL at the beginning of the second period and should have equalised when Zolinski failed to make proper contact with William’s attempted clearance. That miss proved costly as the Wolves extended their lead with their first proper attack of the half, Ginczek controlling Steffen’s flick-on before curling into the far corner from inside the penalty area.

Vasiliadis found the top corner from 20 metres out after VfL had lost possession cheaply in midfield, but Paderborn’s hopes of salvaging something from the game were all but ended when Arnold curled a sumptuous free-kick over the wall and into the bottom corner with 14 minutes remaining. The victory - VfL’s first of the calendar year - lifts Glasner’s side above Eintracht Frankfurt and Augsburg into the top half of the Bundesliga table.

SC Paderborn: Zingerle - Jans (Hünemeier 46’), Strohdiek, Schonlau, Holtmann - Vasiliadis, Sabiri - Pröger, Antwi-Adjei - Zolinski (Mamba 60’), Srbeny (Michel 74’)

VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels - William, Knoche, Pongracic, Roussillon - Schlager, Guilavogui (Gerhardt 84’), Arnold - Steffen, Ginczek (Klaus 74’), Mehmedi (Victor 90+3’)

Goals: Zolinski (21’), Knoche (26’), Ginczek (40’, 60’), Vasiliadis (72’), Arnold (76’)
Yellow cards: Strohdiek, Hünemeier, Vasiliadis / Guilavogui, Steffen, Pongracic

Red cards: Holtmann (33’)

Attendance: 13,926

Referee: Patrick Ittrich (Hamburg)