Germany: Bundesliga
4 - 0
(2 - 0)
T. Čvančara (16), R. Reitz (42), F. Honorat (64), A. Pléa (71)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Arnold and Schäfer criticize Kovac's squad rotations: "We need automatisms."

Both VfL Wolfsburg sporting CEO Marcel Schäfer and team captain Maximilian Arnold - in fashion not exactly veiled - criticized head-coach Niko Kovac for  his heavy squad rotations following last night's defeat. 
VfL Wolfsburg trainer Niko Kovac's found himself having to answer for his heavy squad rotations earlier this week. There seems to be little rhyme or reason to Kovac's Autostädter at the moment. While the team was able to see of Leipzig in the second round of the DFB Pokal, Germany's green company team has gone winless in the league since late September. Last night's 0-4 drubbing away at Gladbach definitely counted as the team's worst performance of the season.

Kovac's starting XI once again featured many changes. Five players were rotated in from the 2-2 draw against Bremen. Some of the personnel selections didn't make a great deal of sense. In-form players such as Jonas Wind (support striker) and Vaclav Cerny (bench) weren't utilized well. Skipper Maximilian Arnold - despite being labelled a direct competitor for Aster Vranckx's starting spot - began the match alongside Vranckx in midfield.

Arnold, along with Danish fullback/winger Joakim Maehle, were among the Wolfsburg players asked to comment on Kovac's tendency to rotate heavily by members of the German press. Both actors kept the comments on their coach mild, though Kovac himself didn't shy away from saying that Arnold was "introverted and disappointed". Arnold didn't hold his tongue in yesterday's post-match interview.

"It was a bitter evening," Arnold remarked when speaking to his interviewer from German broadcaster DAZN, "That was nothing at both the front and the back. We're shooting ourselves in the foot. We're making an incredible number of mistakes at the moment. It's a very, very disgusting situation."

"If you look at the last five games, things are going completely in the wrong direction," Arnold continued, We have to fight back as a team and as a club. There's no point in glossing over anything. We have to stand closer together and get out of this together. It's always easier said than done, but we don't have to talk about trivialities, we have to scrutinise ourselves as a team and put an end to it as quickly as possible."

Kovac himself criticized both Arnold and keeper Koen Casteels (responsible for two of Gladbach's four goals). The VfL trainer again used the word "introverted" to describe Arnold's play. Responding to a question about his squad rotations, Kovac bluntly put forth the footballing platitude that those showing themselves in training always had the chance to play. Arnold, also platitudinously, said "no one is above the team".

Kovac and Arnold expressed the hope that the team could re-gain its footing over the international break. Sporting CEO Marcel Schäfer's comments nevertheless suggested that there might be a change coming on the trainer bank soon. Schäfer made no effort to hide his frustration with Kovac's rotations. Schäfer - like Arnold - labelled the current trend and unquestionably and unnecessarily downward.

"Of course, we are endeavoring to achieve consistency," Schäfer said, "In our game, over 90 minutes, also in terms of personnel. We're working on that. This was a disastrous performance. We need to ensure that certain automatisms take hold."

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