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Wolves too good for Hoffenheim

VfL boosted their hopes of a place in Europe next season with a magnificent 4-1 win at in-form TSG Hoffenheim on Sunday afternoon.

William cancelled out Adam Szalai’s early opener to send the teams in level at the break, before Wout Weghorst beat Oliver Baumann at his near post to give Bruno Labbadia’s side the lead for the first time in the match. Late goals from Maximilian Arnold and another from Weghorst sealed a comfortable victory for the Green-Whites, who move to within a point of seventh-placed Hoffenheim.

Jung handed rare start

Labbadia made two enforced changes to the Wolves side that salvaged a point against Eintracht Frankfurt last Monday. Daniel Ginczek, who has been struggling with back problems this week, was replaced in the starting line-up by Felix Klaus, while right-back Sebastian Jung was handed his first start of the season in place of the injured John Anthony Brooks. 

William cancels out Szalai opener

The Wolves almost made the perfect start when Klaus found a pocket of space inside the Hoffenheim area, but his goal-bound effort was tipped onto the crossbar by goalkeeper Baumann. Szalai finished off a flowing counter-attack to give the hosts a ninth-minute lead, and it could have got worse for the visitors when Julian Nagelsmann’s side were awarded a penalty via VAR following Robin Knoche’s challenge on Nico Schulz. Andre Kramaric sent Pavao Pervan the wrong way from the spot, but the Croatian’s effort struck the left-hand post and trickled clear. Knoche and Arnold were both denied by Baumann as VfL pushed for an equaliser, before a magnificent finish from William into the top right-hand corner deservedly brought the Wolves level four minutes before the break.

Wolves cruise to victory

The Green-Whites made the brighter start to the second half, but clear-cut chances were few and far between with Hoffenheim seemingly happy to sit deep and hit the visitors on the counter. VfL finally broke the hosts’ resistance on 69 minutes, Weghorst directing William’s deep cross past Baumann at his near post for his 13th league goal of the season. The Wolves continued to pin Hoffenheim back inside their own half and made it 3-1 when Arnold fired home Weghorst’s cross, before the Dutchman capped an impressive second-half display with a composed finish two minutes from time. The result ends Hoffenheim’s four-game winning run in the league and lifts Labbadia’s charges to within a single point of the top seven. Victory at home to struggling 1. FC Nürnberg next Saturday could lift the Green-Whites up to fifth if other results go their way.

TSG Hoffenheim: Baumann - Bicakcic (Nelson 73’), Vogt, Hübner - Grillitsch - Kaderabek, Schulz - Amiri (Bittencourt 56’), Kramaric - Belfodil, Szalai

VfL Wolfsburg: Pervan - Jung (Steffen 57’), Knoche, Tisserand, William - Guilavogui - Gerhardt, Arnold - Mehmedi (Melli 84’) - Klaus (Rexhbecaj 78’), Weghorst

Goals: Szalai (9’), William (41’), Weghorst (69’, 88’), Arnold (85’)

Yellow cards: Schulz, Kaderabek / William, Arnold

Attendance: 27,725

Referee: Deniz Aytekin