By Ultan Corcoran@UltanCorcoran

Bundesliga End of Season Awards: Wolfsburg's Player of the Season

Collecting 6 votes from our team of writers, Jonas Wind’s performances in the 2023/24 campaign secured the crown as Wolfsburg’s Bundesliga Player of the Season.

Wolfsburg have hit a slump of sorts in recent seasons. Their second 12th-place finish in the last 3 campaigns leaves the club a far cry from their three consecutive seasons enjoying European club football between 2018/19 and 2020/21. With just 4 wins in their 18 Rückrunde games, it came as no surprise that Nico Kovac’s days in the dugout came to an end. Ralph Hasenhüttl, a man who has enjoyed decent success in Germany with Ingolstadt and RB Leipzig took over. The Austrian went back to basics utilising both a 4-4-2 and 3-4-3 to finish the season with a fistful of wins. An experimental period perhaps, in preparation for 2024-25.

It probably went unnoticed before the season kicked off but akin to Gladbach, Wolfsburg was also in rebuild mode. The loss of Micky van de Ven and Felix Nmecha financed some replacements like Lovro Majer, Joakhim Mæhle, and Vaclav Černý. Yet some experienced names like Paulo Otavio and Omar Marmoush left for free. Fortunately, one vital figure in the form of Jonas Wind remained in Lower Saxony. The Danish striker has now completed his second full campaign in Germany’s premier division, notching a career-best 11 goals and 7 assists in 34 games. In addition, a clear improvement in his creative side having only registered one Bundesliga assist before the 2023/24 campaign.

With ‘the Wind’ behind them, Die Wolfe raced out of the blocks this campaign as their Danish sharp shooter notched 8 goals and an assist in 9 appearances. Either side of the winter break Wolfsburg hit a wall of inconsistencies. Wind felt the effects himself, going goalless for 17 games albeit laying off 5 further assists. Ultimately, there is no doubting the 25-year-old’s talent. Not one of his goals came from outside the 18-yard-box exhibiting his predatory instincts close to goal. Wind’s average 0.23xA/90 also ranks inside the 80th-percentile among strikers according to fbref.com. The Dane looks like a nailed-on star for Hasenhüttl’s next season, provided they can keep him with rumours of another wolf in Wolverhampton interested in his services.

STANDOUT PERFORMANCE:

Jonas Wind was the master of the ‘doppelpack’ at the start of the Bundesliga season. His brace on Matchday 2 stood out to due to the fluidity with which Wolfsburg played, the Dane’s spatial awareness, and clinical edge. Luca Waldschmidt opened the scoring for Koln against his parent club, but Wind finished off a flowing move to tie the game just after the hour mark. Lovro Majer fizzed the ball into the feet of Mattias Svanberg. The Swede set it for Jonas Wind who took a touch in the box. A subsequent body faint grounded Julian Chabot, and the Dane gave Marvin Schwabe the eyes to roll home. 

Ten minutes later the scoreboard flipped on its head. The Danish connection of Joakhim Mæhle and Jonas Wind bagged the 72nd-minute winner. In a central position, the full-back slipped it to his compatriot on the angle. A combination of Chabot and Schwäbe prevented the 25-year-old at first, but like any good striker he followed in. The ball broke kindly for Wind who reacted first to smash home with his less-favoured left foot to bag all three points for Wolfsburg in a 2-1 win.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

Three other teammates of the Danish international received a vote each. Skipper, Maximilian Arnold led Wolfsburg during the hard times in the season. Maxence Lacroix also picked up a nomination with 4 goal and 1 assist from 28 starts, albeit discipline was an issue with two red cards. Marquee summer signing Lovro Majer took a solitary vote for a respectable 5 goals and 5 assist in a debut Bundesliga campaign for the Croatian midfielder.

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