Germany: Bundesliga
2 - 3
(0 - 1)
J. Mæhle (50), L. Nmecha (83)
S. Guirassy (14), S. Guirassy (54), J. Vagnoman (77)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Guirassy brace extends Wolfsburg's winless run to nine matches

A Serhou Guirassy brace and goal from Josha Vagnoman proved too much for Niko Kovac's VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday evening at the Volkswagen Arena. 

Kovac's northern Autostädter are now winless in their last nine fixtures after incurring their 11th league loss of the season. 
VfL Wolfsburg continue to search for their first win of the new calendar year. Since besting SV Darmstadt in the current campaign's 15th round on December 16th, Germany's green company team have lost three and drawn six matches over the course of the last nine league match-days. VfB Stuttgart became the latest team to extend Wolfsburg's winless streak, digging out a 3-2 victory Saturday evening at the Volkswagen Arena. Stuttgart kept up pace with fellow top four aspirants Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig; both of whom won their round 24 fixtures earlier today. 

Hoeneß employed just one change to the side that drew Köln last week. Maximilian Mittelstädt returned to the XI to take the place of Woo-Yeong Jeong. The lone personnel change did lead to a radical reformation of the squad's tactical shape, shifting last week's 4-2-3-1 into a 3-4-3. VfL trainer Niko Kovac too made just one change to his XI. Vaclav Cerny was preferred to striker Jonas Wind. This too led to a major formational change, turning Kovac's recent regular 4-4-2 into a 4-2-3-1. Cerny began on the right wing while Lovro Majer moved central.

The match initially unfolded as one might have expected given the respective position of the two sides in the table. Stuttgart dominated the opening phase. The Swabians grabbed the lead inside the first quarter-of-an-hour via a Serhou Guirassy strike. The VfB scoring sensation headed home a Mittelstädt cross after some nice combo work between the former Hertha fullback and Chris Führich on the left. The Württemberger guests pulled back slightly following the 14th minute 1-0, keeping the VWers from fashioning scoring opportunities out of their sustained attack charges.

The first half concluded with neither team having furnished much after the opening goal. For all their offensive pressure, Kovac's Lower Saxons were unable to force a single save out of VfB keeper Alexander Nübel. Kovac reacted to his team's insufficiencies by brining Tiago Tomas on for Cerny at the half. The former Stuttgart attacker immediately made his presence felt with an incisive cross sent into the box seconds after kickoff. Stuttgart skipper Waldemar Anton narrowly avoided scoring an own-goal whilst attempting to clear it.

The Autostädter were able to equalize in the 50th thanks to some excellent interplay up the left involving Majer and American winger Kevin Paredes. Joakim Maehle trailed the attack and polished off the 1-1 deftly. Shortly after that, however, Maehle found himself on the wrong end of a penalty decision. The Danish fullback was adjudged to have fouled Enzo Millot in the box in the 52nd. Despite the fact that replays confirmed it to be a soft call, the spot-kick was permitted to be taken in the 54th. Guirassy converted the 2-1 to officially record a scorer's brace.

Stuttgart thought they had secured the decisive 3-1 a short two minutes later, but a Josha Vagnoman goal was chalked off due to offside. Vagnoman would still net the official 3-1 in the 77th after an intense phase in which Wolfsburg gradually began to take more risks. The once-capped German senior international fired home confidently after some nice set-up work from Jamie Leweling. There was some consolation for the hosts when the subbed on Lukas Nmecha pulled a goal back in the 83rd. The oft-injured German international netted his first tally since November of 2022.

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