32nd matchday: Third win in a row: Wolfsburg is almost saved

32nd matchday
Third win in a row: Wolfsburg is almost saved

Wolfsburg got the three points in the home game against Darmstadt. photo

© Swen Pförtner/dpa

After the 3-0 win against Darmstadt, VfL Wolfsburg no longer needs to worry about staying in the league. Is there even more going on in the last two games?

The VfL Wolfsburg has finally prevented the horror scenario of relegation. The Volkswagen Club also won against SV Darmstadt 98, which was promoted and relegated, 3-0 (2-0). After the third win in a row, VfL is suddenly even closer to a European Cup place than to the relegation place in the Bundesliga.

In front of 23,108 spectators, the Austrian Patrick Wimmer (8th minute) and the Dane Jonas Wind (11th) took advantage of Wolfsburg’s first two chances to take a secure 2-0 lead. This lead was never in danger again against harmless Darmstadt players. Czech Vaclav Cerny added a third goal in added time (90+3).

For Wolfsburg coach Ralph Hasenhüttl, something like preparation for next season began in this game. In the last few weeks against Bochum (1:0) and Freiburg (2:1) he relied exclusively on strong, resilient players who take the relegation battle literally. On Saturday, with goalscorer Wimmer, top transfer Lovro Majer and full-back Joakim Maehle, those professionals for whom VfL once paid a lot of money and who so far did not seem to fit Hasenhüttl’s game idea were given a chance.

And even if their opponent was only the bottom of the table, they took the opportunity against Darmstadt, especially in the early stages, to refute this impression. With Majer as the hanging striker and Wimmer on the left, the Wolves pressed energetically. The Croatian 25 million euro purchase also prepared the 2-0 through wind. And Wimmer even involuntarily prevented the score from making it 3-0 when a corner from Majer hit his head in the 42nd minute and flew over the goal from there.

Relegated Darmstadt did little to counter this. Tim Skarke could have given the Lilies an early lead (5th) and Fabian Nürnberger could have brought it back with a free kick shortly before half-time (45th) – that was it. This afternoon may have been particularly disappointing for goalkeeper Alexander Brunst and midfielder Julian Justvan. Because both of them already played for the VfL second team.

The best thing from Darmstadt’s point of view was that the 21st defeat in the 32nd game of the season was no worse. The eager Wolves had several good chances in the second half thanks to Kevin Paredes (53rd), Majer (78th) and Cerny (87th).

Should the table be 16th. If Mainz 05 didn’t win in Heidenheim on Sunday evening, Wolfsburg’s relegation would also be mathematically perfect. But the change of coach from Niko Kovac to Hasenhüttl has already paid off: Lower Saxony won four of six games with the 56-year-old.


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