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20.09.2020Bundesliga

Werkself share points in 0-0 draw at Wolfsburg

Bayer 04 start the new Bundesliga season with a draw. The away game on matchday one ended all square at 0-0 – and thereby provided a first.
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"It was an evenly balanced and open game," said keeper Lukas Hradecky in analysing the match before looking forward positively: "We have to live with it and we will improve from game to game. Rome wasn't built in a day." Neither was Sven Bender "unhappy with the point. When you start the season it's always good to pick up points. But we have to make sure we do better in the coming weeks."

Werkself on top – but Wolfsburg have better chances

There is little reason for major alteration after a 7-0 victory. So Werkself coach Peter Bosz made just one change to his starting line-up after the DFB Cup win against Norderstedt: Moussa Diaby started on the left wing in place of Nadiem Amiri.

A total of 500 spectators were allowed to watch the league opener at the VW Arena in Wolfsburg. They saw a Werkself side that was immediately back in Bundesliga mode and the Wolfsburg keeper Koen Casteels was called into action from an early corner on three minutes. Bayer 04 were very confident on the ball in the opening stages and quickly gained the upper hand in midfield but the attacking action lacked precision. The next chance also came from a corner: A flying header from Lucas Alario from a clever Sven Bender cross was blocked (17'). Florian Wirtz and Diaby were then involved in the first good build-up play: The pair played off each other in exemplary fashion to break through the Wolfsburg defence but Wirtz was stopped by Maxence Lacroix (24').

The Werkself defence showed impressive early form. Sven Bender & Co. were incredibly focused and extremely alert positional play meant that the VfL attack, including former Leverkusen player Admir Mehmedi, was unable to make an impression. However, almost out of the blue, the Wolves suddenly had two good chances from set pieces: Maximilian Arnold hit a corner directly against the outside of the post (32'), and John Anthony Brooks was unmarked when he headed over the bar from a free kick (33').

Hradecky outstanding against Weghorst

The Werkself remained the team most likely to succeed from open play but the final pass proved elusive. Instead it was Wolfsburg who had the next good chance: A deflected shot from Mehmedi fortuitously dropped at the feet of Wout Weghorst who suddenly popped up in front of Lukas Hradecky – but the Werkself keeper showed his evident class in a one-on-one, making himself big and parrying the shot from the prolific Dutchman (42').

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After the restart, Bayer 04 quickly regained control of the game and had – as in the first half - an early chance from a corner: Casteels had to make two efforts to hold onto the ball from an Edmond Tapsoba header (51'). Otherwise the few spectators were presented with a similar scenario as at the start of the first 45: The Werkself moved the ball well in midfield and were solid at the back but penetration was again lacking in the final third.

League debut for Schick - Casteels keeps out Diaby

Peter Bosz therefore made changes up front, bringing on Amiri and Patrik Schick (63'). The Czech Republic new signing celebrated his league debut for the Black and Reds. Hardly were the duo on the pitch than the Werkself had the first clear-cut chance: With his first touch, Amiri played a great ball to Diaby who cut his way into the box and shot on the turn but Casteels prevented the Werkself taking the lead with an impressive save with his feet (64').

As in the first half, Wolfsburg again became stronger and it increasingly developed into an evenly balanced game. But the Werkself defence continued to impress – and when Joao Victor did break through Hradecky was alert (74'). The outcome of the game was now completely open as Bayer 04 again and again found themselves in front of the Wolfsburg goal: Schick headed a free kick from Amiri over the target (82’). However, neither side was able to find the back of the net – and that ensured a first: This was the first goalless draw in the 50th fixture between Wolfsburg and Bayer 04.

So the Werkself will have to wait a little longer for the first Bundesliga goal of the new season. Possibly next Saturday: RB Leipzig visit the BayArena in the first home game in the new Bundesliga campaign with the kick off at 15.30 CET. Leipzig won their opening match on Sunday afternoon with a 3-1 victory against Mainz 05.

 

Match stats:

Wolfsburg: Casteels - Steffen, Lacroix, Brooks, Roussillon (Otavio 69') - Schlager, Arnold - Brekalo, Mehmedi (Klaus 69'), Joao Victor (Gerhardt 78') - Weghorst

Bayer 04: Hradecky – L. Bender, S. Bender, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven (Wendell 76') – Aránguiz - Wirtz (Baumgartlinger 85'), Demirbay (Amiri 63') – Bellarabi (Pohjanpalo 85'), Alario (Schick 63'), Diaby

Booked: Schlager - Aránguiz, Baumgartlinger

Referee: Sven Jablonski (Bremen)

Attendance: 500

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