Wolfsburg’s march towards UEFA Champions League qualification continued on Saturday as Die Wölfe defeated Werder Bremen 2-1 at the Wohninvest Weserstadion.
Far from the most exciting game in Bundesliga history, Wolfsburg were able to open the scoring when a set-piece led to an own-goal from Bremen forward Josh Sargent. Wout Weghorst doubled his side’s advantage in the 42nd minute, but Kevin Möhwald was able to halve the deficit for the home side just moments later.
Bremen couldn’t find a late equalizer, though, as a resolute Wolfsburg defense held on to clinch all three points.
Story of the match
Die Wölfe took the lead after 10 minutes in fortunate fashion. A free-kick whipped into the area was initially headed by Maxence Lacroix before bouncing off of Josh Sargent, and that deflection meant that the ball looped over Jiří Pavlenka and into the back of the net. Oddly enough, it was the second straight game where Wolfsburg scored first via an own-goal.
A double save from Pavlenka kept Bremen in the game, as he first got a hand on a deflected shot from distance (even though it was going wide) before getting back up quickly to block a potential pass across the area.
The high-press from Wolfsburg would lead to their second, which came minutes before the end of the first half. Xaver Schlager was able to make a tackle in the final third, and the loose ball fell kindly to Wout Weghorst. He made the most of the opportunity, taking a few touches before slotting home with confidence.
There would be another goal before the break, though. A free-kick was floated into the area, and the ball bounced off of a few bodies before settling right to Kevin Möhwald. He reacted quickest to the situation, hitting a volley into the back of the net from close range to pull one back for Bremen.
It was a blistering conclusion to an opening 45 minutes that were mostly uneventful.
Pavlenka was forced into action at the hour mark, initially saving Weghorst’s curling effort from the edge of the area before then denying Kevin Mbabu on the rebound.
After a whole lot of nothing, Bremen had one last chance in the final moments. A mess in the penalty area led to the ball falling right to the feet of substitute Davie Selke. His attempt managed to get past all of the bodies in the box, but it ended up going right into the grateful arms of Koen Casteels.
The little things
This result showcased why one of the sides is pushing for Champions League qualification while the other is sat in the middle of the league table.
There was ultimately little to separate the two teams. The amount of possession each had was nearly identical, while both failed to create many chances, all things considered.
However, Wolfsburg were still able to get the job done at the end of the day. Just that bit better, Die Wölfe grabbed two first-half goals to take the lead while stifling Bremen for most of the contest. It wasn’t the best performance from the away side, but it still secured them three big points in their push for the top four.
For Bremen, this will serve as a lesson for the future. They’ve yet to learn how to consistently win ugly, which has led to them dropping potential points over the course of the campaign. Once Die Grün-Weißen start doing that, then they might be able to return to the upper echelons of the Bundesliga standings.
Man of the match - Wout Weghorst
Wolfsburg’s flying Dutchman got onto the scoresheet once again, and his goal was a crucial one since it ultimately proved to be the winner.
Far from his best game, Wout Weghorst was still able to make an impact when it mattered. Pouncing on a loose ball in the final third, he was always going to score when the opportunity arose, and he did just that with a clinical finish.
That was his only real chance, to be fair, but the Dutchman did help his team throughout the contest by holding onto the ball and opening up space for others.
It may not have been pretty, but Weghorst was able to do enough to clinch another win for Wolfsburg.