The Werkself coaches rotated a number of players, also in part to replace injured stars Ömer Toprak, Hakan Calhanoglu, Jonathan Tah (muscular problems) and the suspended Kevin Volland. After disappointing defeats against Hoffenheim in the league and at Sportfreunde Lotte in the DFB Cup the Werkself were keen to make amends – and that was evident in the opening minutes. Driven forward by Kevin Kampl, Bayer 04 went in search of an early goal. Charles Aránguiz tested the Wolfsburg keeper Diego Benaglio with a low shot on six minutes. With 19 minutes on the clock Wendell fired in an effort from the left edge of the box that struck the outside of the right-hand post – that was the seventh time the Werkself have hit the woodwork this term.
The hosts Wolfsburg freed themselves from the grip of the Werkself pressing as the game went on to create some chances although Daniel Caligiuri (21') and Mario Gomez (27') failed to hit the target. Maximilian Arnold showed the way for the Wolves on 37 minutes. Caligiuri got on the end of a long ball and cross from the right for Arnold to convert from close range leaving Bernd Leno helpless and give Wolfsburg the lead.
Werkself penalty claim goes unrewarded
Chicharito was in a position to equalise two minutes later but Benaglio kept him out. He had another chance to level at 1-1 just before the break when a corner from Aranguiz was headed on by the skipper Lars Bender for the Mexican at the far post. The VfL central defender Ricardo Rodriguez made a successful last-ditch defence but he caught Chicharito with his foot in his chest. Referee Tobias Stieler failed to award a penalty to the Werkself. The Wolves went into the half-time break 1-0 up.
Markus Krösche, who stood in again for the Bayer 04 head coach Roger Schmidt due to his touchline ban, clearly found the right words at the break. After the restart the visitors penned Wolfsburg into their own half, subdued them and press forward in search of an equaliser. Kampl attempted to curl a shot into the far corner on 50 minutes and Tin Jedvaj rifled in a fine effort on the hour mark that went just over the bar. Julian Brandt then went close to netting an equaliser but his right-foot shot went just past the post.
Double whammy provides relief for the Werkself
Wolfsburg looked lethargic in front of a 26,000 crowd at the Volkswagen Arena as the Werkself upped the pressure. And that brought success. On 79 minutes Kampl picked out Benjamin Henrichs in the opposition box with and excellent pass. The Werkself full-back passed into the centre of the penalty area for Admir Mehmedi to coolly convert from close range to score a richly deserved equaliser.
The Werkself were not satisfied. Four minutes later the Wolves were unable to clear their lines and Aleksandar Dragovic picked out Jedvaj in the box. The Croatian clips a right foot shot into the right-hand corner of the net to put Bayer 04 2-1 up. In added time Wolfsburg had their first shot of the second half but Leno was able to save from Yannick Gerhardt to hold on to the three points. Referee Stieler blew the final whistle to the huge relief the victory brought.
The second away win in the Bundesliga is followed by the Werkself returning to the Champions League campaign with the fourth group match away to Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday (20.45 CET). Ahead of the international break Bayer 04 entertain Darmstadt 98 at the BayArena next Saturday (15.30 CET).
VfL Wolfsburg: Benaglio - Blaszczykowski, Knoche (Hansen 7’), Rodriguez, Gerhardt - Seguin (Mayoral 87’), Gustavo - Caligiuri, Arnold, Draxler (Brekalo 78’) - Gomez.
Bayer 04: Leno - Henrichs, Jedvaj, Dragovic, Wendell - Bender (Baumgartlinger 77’), Aránguiz (Havertz 71’) - Brandt, Kampl - Mehmedi (Kießling 87’), Chicharito.
Goals: 1-0 Arnold (37’), 1-1 Mehmedi (79’), 1-2 Jedvaj (83’).
Booked: Mehmedi, Bender, Wendell.
Referee: Tobias Stieler (Hamburg).
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