Wolfsburg - Freiburg

Germany: Bundesliga
Wolfsburg
VOLKSWAGEN ARENA0-2
Freiburg P. Lienhart (27), L. Höler (68)
LineupReview

15.30 kickoffs: Freiburg's undefeated season continues while Bayern, Dortmund, and Leipzig all win

By Peter Vice

Interest in the 2021/22 German Bundesliga's latest set of 15:30 kickoffs was so great that it literally crashed the websites of two of the country's most well known footballing news sources. 

In a fantastic set of four simultaneous kickoffs, title challengers Bayern and Dortmund were able to secure victories. Jesse Marsch's Leipzig were able to avoid a shocking upset with a 4-1 comeback win. 

The big story remains that Christian Streich's Schwarzwaldverein maintained an undefeated record via a 2-0 victory that sent VfL Wolfsburg to their fourth straight league defeat. 

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Germany's spry Black Forest club finds itself in third place on 19 points after a big win away in the country's northern Autostadt. Current Champions' League German participants VfL Wolfsburg are now winless in their last eight fixtures and have slid down to 8th place in the German Bundesliga table.


Freiburg trainer Christian Streich put together a 3-4-3 with Lukas Kübler and Christian Günter working as advanced wingers. Mark van Bommel's latest attempt to bring some rhythm to his team resembled a 4-1-2-3. Joshua Guilavogui played sweeper. Maximilian Arnold and Aster Vranckx worked ahead of the former captain as sixes. Ridle Baku (right) and Renato Steffen (left) were back to their regular wing sides whilst Lukas Nmecha started again as the center forward.

The two sides fought extremely hard for every inch of the midfield during the opening quarter-of-an-hour at the Volkswagen Arena. The Lower Saxon hosts finally seized some initiative after the 15th with Nmecha missing a couple of close chances. After the match settled back into a midfield stalemate for a while, Philipp Lienhart finished off a Vincenzo Grifo free-kick on a second effort in the 29th. Buoyed by the opening goal, the Breisgauer guests the produced some sustained offensive pressure in pursuit of a second.

It was still the Wolves who would reap the clearer chances from a match suddenly a great deal more open. Kevin Mbabu barely missed in the 35th and Nmecha slammed one of the crossbar less than a minute later. Seconds before it was time to head into the tunnel, Freiburg's Nico Schlotterbeck's distance laser whizzed just past the post. Disapproving whistles accompanied the home team as they headed off the pitch.

Van Bommel waited until 11 minutes after the restart to employ personnel changes. Dodi Lukebakio and Maximilian Philipp came on for a 4-2-3-1 reformat. This did lead to significantly more scoring chances, with Baku and John Anthony Brooks nearly getting the equalizer on a double chance in the 64th. Five minutes later, however, it would be Freiburg captain Günter who unlocked striker Lucas Höler for a 2-0 lead. A hail of substitutes impeded much of a flow thereafter for either team.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs, SpVgg Greuther Fürth nearly caused quite the sensation away at Leipzig. A tired and mistake prone RB side conceded a late first half goal to Branimir Hrgota meant that the struggling Saxons fell behind 0-1 at home.


Jesse Marsch's men were nevertheless able to fight back with some fresh legs and a tactical shift at the half. Substitute Yussuf Poulsen scored the equalizer soon after the restart. The team soon cruised to a 4-1 victory that also featured goals from Emil Forsberg, Dominik Szoboszlai, and 18-year-old Hugo Novoa.

The eagerly anticipated visit of Sebastian Hoeneß' TSG 1899 Hoffenheim to league leaders Bayern proved a very interesting tactical chess match. Only two pieces of absurd skill from Serge Gnabry enabled Bayern to go up 2-0. The visiting Kraichgauer kept it competitive until the record champs scored two more in the final ten minutes.

For Borussia Dortmund, the absence of Erling Haaland proved no significant problem away at Bielefeld. A 5-4-1 spearheaded by Donyell Malen easily dispatched the Teutoburgs 3-1. Veterans Emré Can and Mats Hummels chipped in goals in the victory.


Wolfsburg
(4-3-3)
1Koen Casteels (C)
19Kevin Mbabu
4Maxence Lacroix
25John Brooks ↩88
6Paulo Otávio ↩56
8Aster Vranckx
23Josuha Guilavogui ↩56
27Maximilian Arnold
20Ridle Baku
10Lukas Nmecha
11Renato Steffen ↩80
Bench
12Pavao Pervan
17Maximilian Philipp ↪56
28Dodi Lukebakio ↪56
33Daniel Ginczek
3Sebastiaan Bornauw ↪88
5Mickey van de Ven
38Jannis Lang
22Felix Kalu Nmecha ↪80
31Yannick Gerhardt
Freiburg
(3-4-3)
26Mark Flekken
5Manuel Gulde ↩69
3Philipp Lienhart
4Nico Schlotterbeck
17Lukas Kübler ↩87
8Maximilian Eggestein
27Nicolas Höfler
30Christian Günter (C)
29Jeong Woo-Yeong ↩78
9Lucas Höler ↩78
32Vincenzo Grifo ↩87
Bench
1Benjamin Uphoff
11Ermedin Demirović ↪78
18Nils Petersen ↪78
20Kevin Schade ↪69
33Noah Weißhaupt
23Dominique Heintz
25Kiliann Sildillia ↪87
31Keven Schlotterbeck
19Janik Haberer ↪87

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