With the fourth win in a row, VfL Wolfsburg said goodbye to the long winter and World Cup break as a Europa League candidate.
The team of coach Nico Kovac landed a happy 2: 1 (1: 1) at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in a chaotic game in the Bundesliga. In front of just 18,014 spectators in the Sinsheim stadium, Christoph Baumgarter (42nd minute) gave the home side the lead. An own goal by Ozan Kabak (45.5) and a goal by Ridle Baku (56.) plunged the Kraichgau team even deeper into the crisis.
With this win, Wolfsburg, who have now been unbeaten in nine competitive games, distanced Hoffenheim to five points in the table. Under head coach André Breitenreiter, the again disappointing TSG managed only one win in the last nine games at bottom Schalke 04. It was also the fifth home game in a row without a threesome.
At VfL, captain Maximilian Arnold tried to direct his team's game - but like his teammates, he couldn't get a line in for a long time. Before his 300th game in the upper house, the 28-year-old reacted with frustration to his non-nomination for Hansi Flick's World Cup squad. "I'm very, very disappointed. It took me a while to process the decision on Thursday," Arnold said in an interview on the club's website. "In terms of my performance, I can't blame myself."
While Wolfsburg had to do without their former World Cup candidate Lukas Nmecha (knee injury), Hoffenheim's record scorer Andrej Kramaric ran from the start this time, but was ineffective. The Croatian, who has suffered a number of injuries in recent weeks, is currently TSG's only Qatar kicker.
Wolfsburg striker Omar Marmoush had to leave the field after just over ten minutes. Hoffenheim initially developed more pressure: Baumgartner headed in, Angelo Stiller with a 20-metre shot and Georginio Rutter also headed in for a mighty challenge from ex-Hoffenheimer Koen Casteels in the VfL goal. .
Both teams kept losing the ball unnecessarily. It became really dangerous for TSG keeper Oliver Baumann for the first time after 39 minutes when Nmecha did not hit the ball properly from a promising position. Shortly thereafter, Casteels was powerless when Baumgartner headed the ball to make it 1-0 after a short corner.
Wolfsburg's woke-up effect was almost immediate: Arnold crossed, Sebastian Bornauw headed in from ten meters out, Baumann parried forward and Kabak pushed the rebound into his own net. The hit also withstood the video evidence.
The two opponents presented themselves much more cheerfully, but also not in a high-class manner after the break. Baku duped the TSG defence, his ball shot was enough to give Lower Saxony the opener. The approaching TSG pros were still struggling with the team of referees led by Daniel Schlager and the video assistants, since Paulo Otavio's challenge against Georginio Rutter in the 71st minute was not penalized or at least checked.