VfL Wolfsburg has impressively stopped its small series of defeats in the Bundesliga and can continue to dream of the premier class. The team of coach Oliver Glasner deservedly prevailed 3-1 (2-0) at promoted VfB Stuttgart and is fully on the Champions League course four games before the end of the season.
The Wolves successfully defended third place in the table thanks to hits from Xaver Schlager (13th), striker Wout Weghorst (29th) and Yannick Gerhardt (65th). After two previous defeats, the North Germans are still one point ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt with 57 points, while Borussia Dortmund is five points behind. On Saturday (3.30 p.m. / Sky), BVB will come to the Autostadt for a direct duel.
“We didn’t think about the game against Dortmund, only about today’s game. Now we are concentrating fully on BVB,” said the strong VfL keeper Koen Casteels on Sky-Microphone. Midfielder Maximilian Arnold praised the wolves’ yield of chances: “We were just brutally efficient today.”
For Stuttgart, Philipp Förster (26th) missed a hand penalty, the connection of Gonzalo Castro (90th + 2) came too late. The third bankruptcy in a row was probably the decisive blow in the neck for the team of coach Pellegrino Matarazzo in the race for Europe. As tenth in the table, the Swabians have lost touch with the front midfield.
Wolfsburg coach Glasner switched his defense to three positions after conceding seven goals against Bayern Munich (2: 3) and Eintracht Frankfurt (3: 4) – as many as in the previous 13 games. On Wednesday evening he had to do without his two suspended full-backs Kevin Mbabu and Paulo Otavio, among other things.
Stuttgart – Wolfsburg: Kalajdzic fails on the strong Casteels
VfB coach Matarazzo exchanged five players compared to the 1: 2 at Union Berlin, with an average age of 23 years it was the youngest Bundesliga starting eleven of the season. The “young wild ones” from Stuttgart also had their first big chance.
But striker Sasa Kalajdzic could not use the disorientation of the Wolfsburg defense and failed from eleven meters from Koen Casteels completely free. On the other side, Gregor Kobel first stood out against Josip Brekalo (12th), but shortly afterwards the VfB goalkeeper had no chance against Schlager’s powerful shot from 22 meters.
With the lead in the back, the Glasner-Elf dominated the action, but the Stuttgart got the great opportunity to equalize. John Anthony Brooks touched the ball with his hand after a cross from Roberto Massimo in the penalty area, but Förster miserably missed the discussion-worthy penalty. First the 26-year-old failed on the outstanding Casteels, he put the margin over the gate.
In return, Weghorst did better. The Dutchman headed a cross from Brekalo from close range to his 20th goal of the season. The VfB, however, struggled with its exploitation of chances. Tanguy Coulibaly (35.) also did not put the ball in the goal from a brilliant position, Matarazzo stood with crossed arms on the sideline and was at a loss.