VfL Wolfsburg did little to ease their Bundesliga relegation fears after a goalless draw with FC Augsburg, despite moving up a place in the table.
Both sides struggled to create much in the first half, however there were more chances in the second half, especially after the hosts were reduced to ten men after Jan Morávek was shown two quick yellow cards.
Paul Jaeckel came closes for the Wolves when he hit the crossbar, and they had plenty of other chances to score, but they finished with ten men as well after Ohis Felix Uduokhai also saw a second yellow card.
First half a struggle for both teams
After seeing his Wolfsburg side win for the first time in six attempts against SC Freiburg last weekend, Bruno Labbadia made two changes for this game, with Uduokhai (playing for the first time since January) and Riechedly Bazoer coming in for Ignacio Camacho and Josip Brekalo as they looked to extend the two-point gap between themselves and 1. FSV Mainz 05 in the relegation play-off spot. Augsburg, probably safe in 11th despite just one win in eight, made only one change from the 4-1 defeat to Bayern Munich, with Morávek coming back in for Daniel Baier.
With both sides struggling for form, they struggled to truly get into the game early on. Augsburg started the brighter, with Jeffrey Gouweleeuw striking over a well-worked corner routine early on, whilst Caiuby also had a shot over the bar.
Wolfsburg had more of the possession but only slowly made that count, however they struggled with their final ball, Paul Verhaegh and William both seeing balls into the box coming to nothing.
On the half-hour, Uduokhai found space ahead of him to run into but his eventual finish moved too far away from goal. A cross from Jaeckel, played just his second first team game, then found the head of striker Landry Dimata, however Marwin Hitz was able to put his attempt out for a corner.
Daniel Didavi, who scored both goals against Freiburg, then skewed a shot well wide, before effectively clearing a Maximilian Arnold free-kick rather than directing it towards goal. A pretty turgid first half, all be told.
Both sides hit the bar and have a man sent off in more lively second half
Augsburg started the second half on the front foot, with Jonathan Schmid putting a shot into the box, made difficult for Koen Casteels by a deflection, although he was able to claim the ball. At the other end though, a free-kick was played short by Arnold to Verhaegh, with the former Augsburg man crossing to Robin Knoche, who headed wide.
That free-kick came about from a Morávek foul on William, which earned him a yellow card. Not even two minutes later though, he went in hard for a tackle on Arnold. Although he seemed to get the ball, Arnold made the most of it, and referee Patrick Ittrich showed him a quick second yellow, seeing no need to consult VAR first.
Wolfsburg looked to make the most of the man advantage, but both sides would hit the bar in the space of a couple of minutes. First, Marco Richter chipped Casteels after doing well to control a long ball, only to his effort rattling the woodwork. Young Jaeckel then launched a fierce shot on goal at the other end, with the same ending.
The Wolves also came close when William struck over the bar, whilst Divock Origi, who forced Hitz into a save soon after coming on, failed to test the Augsburg goalkeeper with a header on a Jaeckel cross, when he should have down a lot more. Dimata then made an absolute mess of connecting with an Arnold corner, trying to hook it in with his foot instead of with his head, and he was duly hauled off by Labbadia.
Having failed to make the most of their chances, the hosts then lost their numerical advantage. Uduokhai went in late on Caiuby with five minutes remaining, and once again Ittrich had his red out after showing the defender a second yellow, the first having come late in the first half. Despite that, they had one last effort in stoppage time, as Verhaegh had a shot tipped over by Hitz, but they had to settle for a point – enough to take them above SC Freiburg, but not clear enough of danger to make them sleep any easier tonight. Augsburg also move up a place.