Oliver Glasner's Wolves survived a late surge from Uwe Neuhaus' Bielefeld to earn their first three points of the season.
|Photo: Ungry Young Man/CC-by-SA 3.0|
German footballing enthusiasts focused in a bit more on a "Lazy Sunday" fixture when VfL trainer Oliver Glasner inserted newly-acquired midfielder Maximilian Philipp into his starting XI. The high profile German attacker enjoyed a largely positive debut slanted slightly to the left in a 4-1-4-1 anchored by captain Joshua Guilavogui.
On the opposing team, Hertha BSC prospect Arne Maier made his Arminia debut in Uwe Neuhaus' 4-5-1. Personnel changes for Neuhaus, which also included debuting Danish defender Jacob Barrett Laursen, seemed intent on mirroring Glasner's approach.
The tactical gambits on behalf of the underdog visitors met with little success. The German wolves dominated proceedings in front of 4,200 of their home supporters. Striker Wout Weghorst opened up the scoring in the 19th with a sharp finish off of intricately designed set-piece. The Dutch target forward collected a short free kick from Maximilian Arnold, wide open after Renato Steffen ran a decoy route to take Ritsu Doan out of the play.
The ravenous Wolves would add a second less than a minute later, pouncing on a keeper errors from Stefan Ortega. Admir Mehmedi picked off a dangerous pass out to Maier, picking off the ball in the penalty box and serving up Arnold for an easy goal.
Wolfsburg closed into a protective 4-5-1 themselves, yet still generated all of the offensive chances for the duration of the first half. Philipp got off two wonderful chances in the space of a minute in the 42nd. Seconds after seeing a hard shot blocked, the former Freiburg and Dortmund attacker got another chance outside the 18. A sumptuously sweet hit whizzed only millimeters past the far post.
VfL preeminence continued after the restart. Weghorst and Steffen forced Ortega into two quality saves in quick succession at the 58-minute-mark. Center-back Maxence Lacroix hit the crossbar after a scramble in the 79th. One minute after that, Bielefeld suddenly found their way back into the match out of nowhere. Doan served up substitute Sven Schipplock from the wing. The 31-year-old "super sub" commemorated his 100th Bundesliga appearance as a sub with his 20th top flight goal.
A reinvigorated Bielefeld produced some chances down the stretch, looking like an actual football team for the first time in the match. The best opportunity nevertheless came for Wolfsburg. Weghorst spurned a golden break at the death, missing a glorious chance to net a brace at 90+4.
While Wolfsburg collect their first points of the season, Bielefeld have now lost three on the trot. VfL captain Joshua Guilvogui incurred an early injury and had to be subbed off before the half-hour mark. It did not appear serious.