VfL Wolfsburg drew yet again, as a late David Selke goal earned Hertha BSC a point in a dramatic Bundesliga contest.
Vedad Ibisevic scored in just 21 seconds for the visitors, but after Mario Gómez and Yunus Malli were controversially, but correctly, denied goals by VAR, and Gómez missed a penalty, both players did score to put the Wolves ahead at the break.
Karim Rekik equalised for Hertha after half-time, only for Divock Origi to restored Wolfsburg’s advantage. Substitute Selke then popped up with his third goal in two games to condemn Wolfsburg and Martin Schmidt to a seventh consecutive draw.
Ibisevic and bad luck stuns Wolfsburg
After Wolfsburg snatched a last-gasp draw against Schalke 04 last week, Schmidt made three changes, with Robin Knoche, Daniel Didavi and Origi – scorer of that late equaliser – coming in for Ohis Felix Uduokhai, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Yannick Gerhardt. After making eight changes for the midweek win against Zorya Luhansk, Pál Dárdai reverted back to the line-up that beat Hamburger SV in the league last weekend. Selke was one of those to return to the bench.
Hertha haven’t had much to celebrate on the road this season but they got off to the dream start here. Valentino Lazaro set up Ibisevic, who waltzed his way in-between two Wolfsburg defenders to score inside just 21 seconds. It was the fourth time in his Bundesliga career he had scored in the opening minute, but his first goal in 900 minutes of action.
Wolfsburg thought they had then drawn level after just five minutes. A free-kick from Didavi was headed onto the post by former Hertha man John Anthony Brooks. Gómez and Knoche went for the loose ball, with Niklas Stark sandwiched in between. Gómez might have had a final touch, however as the Wolves celebrated Dr. Robert Kampka consulted VAR, with Gómez seen to have been offside when Brooks initially struck.
It remained 1-0 then and it remained 1-0 even after Wolfsburg had a penalty. Didavi was bundled down in the box by Per Ciljan Skjelbred with Kampka pointing to the spot. Gómez stepped up, but having missed against Schalke last weekend, he smashed it into the bar.
VAR steps in again before Wolves finally turn the game
Finally they thought they had equalised in the 27th minute when a clearance from Rekik fell to Malli. He struck towards goal, with a slight deflection off team-mate Didavi, and they celebrated finally getting back level. Only, after a slight delay, Kampka again went upstairs before disallowed the goal, with VAR showing that Didavi had been offside.
There was a major sense of injustice in the Volkswagen Arena, with anti-DFB chants ringing around the ground, even though VAR had got both calls right – not that the Wolfsburg fans knew that. The players responded well though, with Didavi and Malli both coming close again, before the latter finally did get the equaliser, for real. Origi crossed the ball back in after Marcel Tisserand’s cross was cleared, and Malli headed in, with no doubt whatsoever over its validity.
In the minds of Wolfsburg at least, justice was done again just before the break. Gómez rushed through, played through by Didavi, and placed the ball past Rune Jarstein. Luck was finally on the side of the Wolves as well, as his shot hit first the right post, than the left one, before finally trickling into the net.
Selke pops up to deny Schmidt his first win
A Didavi free-kick a few minutes after the resumption might have had Hertha worried before going wide, but the Berliners would level the game a minute later from a free-kick of their own. Marvin Plattenhardt whipped it in from the right, with Rekik getting free enough to head into the roof of the net, his second goal in two league matches after opening his Hertha account against Hamburg.
The parity would not last for long. Didavi came close to restore the home side’s lead but his shot was parried wide by Jarstein. However from the following corner, Knoche headed on across goal, with Origi connecting with his stomach to get the ball over the line.
Wolfsburg kept pushing on, more confident in attack then defence. Origi had a half chance blocked, before Jarstein spilled a shot from Malli, although the best Gómez could get with the loose ball was a corner. At the other end Koen Casteels made a save from Ibisevic, but generally Wolfsburg still looked on top.
The Wolves had drawn all six of their games under Schmidt, and seven in total, so a Hertha equaliser still seemed possible, with the substitute Selke eventually the man to provide it. After being found by Skjelbred, his initial attempt was saved by Casteels, but he had a second attempt and he took it. After three goals in two UEFA Europa League games, including two on Thursday, he had his first Bundesliga goal for the club, and Schmidt was again denied victory as Wolfsburg head coach.