VfL Wolfsburg 0-0 1. FSV Mainz 05: Gómez and Draxler misfire as Wolves draw another blank

Die Nullfünfer will be happy with a first clean sheet of the season, but Wolfsburg are still without a win since the opening day of the season.

VfL Wolfsburg 0-0 1. FSV Mainz 05: Gómez and Draxler misfire as Wolves draw another blank
Photo: Getty/Stuart Franklin
VfL Wolfsburg
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1. FSV Mainz 05
VfL Wolfsburg: (4-2-3-1) Casteels; Träsch, Bruma, Knoche, Rodriguez; Arnold (Gerhardt 78'), Seguin; Błaszczykowski (Henrique 73'), Draxler, Caligiuri (Brekalo 63'); Gómez.
1. FSV Mainz 05: (4-2-3-1) Lössl; Donati, Bell, Hack, Bussmann; Gbamin, Frei (Brosinski 58'); Öztunali (De Blasis 73'), Malli (Serdar 83'), Onisiwo; Córdoba.
REFEREE: Benjamin Brand (Bamberg).

VfL Wolfsburg were unable to find a way through 1. FSV Mainz 05, as they played out their third goalless draw in five Bundesliga matches.

They will though wonder how they didn’t score what would have been their 1000th Bundesliga goal. Both Mario Gómez and Julian Draxler had chances to break the deadlock in the second half, whilst they also could have had a penalty.

Mainz, after a tiring return trip to Azerbaijan in midweek, only flourished in phases, although Jonas Lössl will have been delighted with his first clean sheet of the season.

Both sides looking for consistancy

After a solid but unspectacular start, Wolfsburg had lost their previous two games, the 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Borussia Dortmund and the 2-1 defeat to Werder Bremen, leaving them with just the one victory, achieved against FC Augsburg on the opening weekend.

Dieter Hecking made four changes from that latter game, with Christian Träsch, Robin Knoche, Ricardo Rodríguez and Daniel Caligiuri all starting in place of Vieirinha, Philipp Wollscheid, Jannes Horn and Yannick Gerhardt.

Mainz have been somewhat unpredictable so far, letting leads slip against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and in their last league game against Bayer Leverkusen, but they also have two victories under the belt already, earned against Augsburg and Bremen.

Following their UEFA Europa League game against FK Gabala, which they won 3-2, there were five changes with Giulio Donati, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Levin Öztunali, Karim Onisiwo and Jhon Córdoba brought in by Martin Schmidt.

Wolfsburg dominate but fail to find breakthrough

Given Mainz’s midweek excursions, it came as little surprise that Wolfsburg started the brighter. Rodríguez had an excellent early free-kick saved by Lössl, and Jeffrey Bruma volleyed wide from a Julian Draxler corner.

Draxler would then have the ball in the net for Wolfsburg, but the flag had already gone up for offside. At the other end, Fabian Frei struck over and a long-range strike from Onisiwo was saved by Koen Casteels.

As for Wolfsburg, they were still struggling in front of goal, with Mario Gómez, still without a goal for them, having no real opportunities. Draxer and Maximillian Arnold failed with successive long-range efforts, but the best chance before the break fell to Jakob Błaszczykowski, whose excellent volley was kept out by Lössl.

Mainz were making more inroads at the other end, although likewise there were few more clear chances, with Córdoba and Gaëtan Bussmann failing to find Yunus Malli on two occasions with balls into the box.

Gómez and Draxler frustrated again

The chances really started to come for Wolfsburg in the second half. Gómez had his first real sight of goal six minutes in, with Träsch, who had been excellent down the right all afternoon, finding him in the box, but his first time shot went wide.

Wolfsburg then perhaps should have had a penalty. Draxler found Gómez again, but his header was blocked by Bussmann which an outstretched arm. Bussmann should have been relieved when the referee didn’t point to the spot.

Mainz chances in the second half were limited, with Malli, Öztunali and Onisiwo all going over, but Casteels was largely untested.

The two key men for Wolfsburg then almost combined again. A volleyed cross in for Draxler would have laid it on a plate for Gómez, if not for a vital save from Lössl to divert it out of the striker’s path. Draxler then had the best chance of all to open the scoring, getting round Lössl, but a lack of power on the shot allowed Donati to intercept it.

The opportunities dried up in the later stages, with Mainz seemingly content to hang on for the point, but there was one more great chance from Gómez. Bruno Henrique launched an excellent cross towards him, he went for the header but Stefan Bell just got there first.