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Leverkusen - Wolfsburg

Germany: Bundesliga
LeverkusenX L. Alario (Pen. 90)
BayArenaFull time0-2
Wolfsburg L. Nmecha (48), M. Arnold (51), M. Lacroix (90)
LineupReviewFixtures

15.30 Kickoffs: Kohfeldt wins in Wolfsburg debut, Freiburg remain undefeated

By Peter Vice

Florian Kohfeldt's new appointment at VfL Wolfsburg got off on the right foot Saturday afternoon at the Bay Arena. The German Wolves snapped their eight-game-winless run with a 2-0 defeat of Leverkusen, who are now winless in five. 

There were no draws in the other four 15:30 kickoffs, with Freiburg, Bayern, Dortmund, and Mainz all emerging victorious. 

Maximilian Arnold.
Maximilian Arnold.

VfL Wolfsburg boss Jörtg Schmadtke justified his recent coaching change by noting that he felt the club's season was slipping away "like sand through one's fingers". Under the new stewardship of Florian Kohfeldt, it at least appears as if Germany's green company team has found its footing again. Meanwhile, the sand is mostly definitely slipping at Germany's red company team. Bayer 04 Leverkusen are now winless in five straight fixtures.


Kohfeldt initially lined his Wolves up in a 3-4-3. Former captain Joshua Guilavogui anchored the back-three, flanked by John Anthony Brooks and Maxence Lacroix. Renato Steffen and Ridle Baku worked the wingbacks slightly ahead of a double-six pairing of Maximilian Arnold and Aster Vranckx. Maximilian Philipp and Yannick Gerhardt directly buttressed lead striker Lukas Nmecha.

Gerado Seoane's constellation also resembled a 3-4-3. Florian Wirtz and Amine Adli served behind Lucas Alario. Jeremie Frimpong and Mitchell Bakker served as wide wingbacks ahead of Exequiel Palacios and Kerem Demirbay. Edmond Tapsoba earned his first start of the year as the back-three anchor. Alongside him were Jonathan Tah and Piero Hincapie.

The two mirror formations largely neutralized one another during a first-half of few chances. After a double chance involving Nmecha in the 9th, matters returned to a midfield stalemate. Leverkusen couldn't quite get their trademark counter attack rolling. When they did, the finishes were nowhere near the mark. Match official Deniz Aytekin was the busiest man on the pitch, handling out several yellows after a frustration-fueled midfield scuffle near the half-hour mark.

With neither side delivering an especially compelling opening 45, Kohfeldt opted to pull the trigger on a double substitution at the break. Paulo Otavio and Dodi Lukebakio relieved Philipp and Steffen for 5-2-3 re-format. Within three minutes, the guests from Lower Saxony had the lead. Lukebakio burst through on the left from a very tight onside position. A close-range cutback was then deflected into the path of Nmecha, who finished calmly with his back heel.

Three minutes after that, Arnold put the Wolves up 2-0. This time substitute Otavio broke through in the box and aimed at Nmecha. Lukas Hradecky saved the initial effort from the Germany U21 striker. Demirbay blocked a follow up from Gerhardt. Unfortunately, the ball then bounced to Arnold. A forceful yet not entirely inelegant finish from the Wolfsburg midfielder left Leverkusen rattled.


Seoane tried his own tactical reformat with three substitutions in the 68th. There was some better play from the home side for a brief interval. By the 80th minute however, the Bay Arena fell silent as die Werkself seemed to completely run out of ideas. To add insult to injury, Alario missed a penalty at 90+6.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs, a Bayern side still led on the sidelines by Dino Toppmöller were able to blow off some steam following their sensational shellacking in the domestic cup midweek. Robert Lewandowski, Kingsley Coman, Thomas Müller, and Leroy Sané all scored in a 5-2 win over Union Berlin at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.

COVID stricken Fürth were able to show some fight back in their trip to Freiburg, but nevertheless came up short with a 1-3 defeat at the Europa Park Stadion. Freiburg remain the 2021/22 Bundesliga's lone undefeated team and retain third place in the table.

Second-place belongs to Borussia Dortmund following a 2-0 win over Köln. Thorgan Hazard and Steffen Tigges were the goal scorers at Signal Iduna Park. Mainz were also able to follow up their defeat of Arminia Bielefeld in the cup on Tuesday with another 2-1 win over the DSC at the Alm.

Bo Svensson's Mainz have now won three on the trot and have moved up to 5th place.



Leverkusen
(3-4-2-1)
1L. Hradecky (C)
4J. Tah
12E. Tapsoba
33P. Hincapié ↪54
30J. Frimpong
25E. Palacios ↪69
10K. Demirbay
5M. Bakker ↪83
31A. Adli ↪69
27F. Wirtz
13L. AlarioX
Bench
36N. Lomb
40A. Lunev
7Paulinho ↩54
28I. Bravo Solanilla
3P. Retsos
6K. Odilon
22D. Sinkgraven ↩83
8R. Andrich ↩69
11N. Amiri ↩69
Wolfsburg
(4-3-3)
1K. Casteels (C)
20R. Baku ↪80
4M. Lacroix
25J. Brooks
11R. Steffen ↪46
8A. Vranckx
23J. Guilavogui
27M. Arnold
17M. Philipp ↪46
10L. Nmecha ↪90
31Y. Gerhardt ↪69
Bench
12P. Pervan
28D. Lukebakio ↩46
33D. Ginczek ↩90
3S. Bornauw
5M. van de Ven
6P. Otávio ↩46
19K. Mbabu ↩69
22F. Nmecha ↩80

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