bundesliga

Maxi Arnold and Marin Pongracic star as Wolfsburg blow Bayer Leverkusen away

Maxi Arnold scored one and assisted two Marin Pongracic goals as sixth-placed Wolfsburg ran out 4-1 winners away to top-four hopefuls Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayer Leverkusen 1-4 Wolfsburg
Goals: 0-1 Pongracic (43'), 0-2 Arnold (65'), 0-3 Steffen (68'), 0-4 Pongracic (75'), 1-4 Baumgartlinger (85')

Unbeaten in six, Leverkusen started brightly as Moussa Diaby threatened to get in behind the Wolfsburg defence, only for Pongracic to intervene. Edmond Tapsoba was forced into evasive action at the other end following a strong run from Joao Victor, before Arnold tested Lukas Hradecky from range. Victor was involved again moments later, but his close-range header from Josip Brekalo's cross met Hradecky's outstretched leg. Hradecky denied the Brazilian once again before the in-form Kai Havertz flicked a backwards header just over in a rare Bayer fora into the visitors' territory. Pongracic went one better on the stroke of half time, heading in from Arnold to give the Wolves a deserved lead.

Hradecky kept Leverkusen in the game early in the second half with another strong stop from Brekalo. The Finn was at it again to keep out Renato Steffen's point-blank header, but his resistance was broken just past the hour when Arnold thundered in a free-kick with the aid of a deflection off Havertz. Steffen headed home at the back post following a fine run and cross from Victor to make it three. Pongracic added a fourth when he met another devilish Arnold set-piece straight from the Wolfsburg training ground. Havertz shot wide in anger, before substitute Julian Baumgartlinger tucked in a token consolation as Bayer missed the chance to climb above Borussia Mönchengladbach and into the top four.

Match stats

  • Leverkusen suffered their first defeat at home in 2020.
  • Peter Bosz lost for the first time against Wolfsburg as a coach, having won his previous three.
  • Pongracic scored his first Bundesliga goals.
  • All six of Steffen's Bundesliga goals this season have come during the second half of the season, of which four have been headers.
  • Arnold set up one and scored from free-kicks as recently as Matchday 20 in the 4-2 win over Paderborn.
  • American teenager Ulysses Llanez Jr made the Wolfsburg bench for the first time.

Watch: Arnold: "I'm proud of the team"

Line-ups

Leverkusen: Hradecky - Weiser (Baumgartlinger 46'), S. Bender, Tapsoba, Wendell (Dragovic 46') - Aranguiz, Demirbay (Alario 67') - Bellarabi (Wirtz 46'), Amiri, Diaby (Bailey 74') - Havertz (c)
Unused subs: Özcan, Tah, Paulinho, Palacios
Out: L. Bender (foot), Volland (foot)
Coach: Peter Bosz

Wolfsburg: Casteels (c) - Mbabu, Pongracic, Brooks (Knoche 82'), Roussillon - Steffen (Mamoush 76'), Schlager, Arnold, Brekalo (Ginczek 66') - Joao Victor - Weghorst
Unused subs: Pervan, Horn, Llanez Jr, Tisserand, Justvan, May
Out: Camacho (ankle), Gerhardt (head injury), Guilavogui (knee), Klaus (suspended), Mehmedi (Achilles tendon), Otavio (ankle), William (knee)
Coach: 
Oliver Glasner