Ridle Baku hits winner as in-form Wolfsburg come from behind to hurt Hoffenheim
Wolfsburg extended their Bundesliga unbeaten run to eight games after coming from a goal down to defeat Hoffenheim 2-1 at the Rhein-Neckar Arena.
Hoffenheim 1-2 Wolfsburg
Goals: 1-1 Baumgartner 42' (assist: Angelino), 1-1 Kabak (o.g 45'+4), 1-2 Baku 56' (assist: F. Nmecha)
Unbeaten in seven Bundesliga matches prior to today’s trip to Hoffenheim, Wolfsburg went into the game looking to extend their fine run of form. But it was the hosts who started the brightest. Hoffenheim fashioned the game’s opening opportunity, with Christoph Baumgartner seeing his glancing header tipped over the bar by Koen Casteels. There was no let-up from the hosts, who continued to deploy a tenacious high-press, resulting in a flurry of chances which Casteels routinely hushed away. Visibly unenamoured with his side’s display, Niko Kovac’s Wolfsburg continued on the back-foot, with Casteels once again called into action, this time strongly palming out Georginio Rutter’s bullet header. Despite the Belgian goalkeeper’s best efforts, the deadlock was finally broken after 42 minutes. Baumgartner netted after dispatching Angelino’s fine cross, giving his side a deserved lead from close range. Wolfsburg equalised moments later though, Ozan Kabak inadvertently turning in to his own net following initial pinball ensuing from Maximilian Arnold’s dangerous cross.
The visitors completed their comeback early in the second half, when Baku finished off a sublime Wolfsburg team move. Starting with a terrific long-ball from goalkeeper Casteels, the ball found Jakub Kaminski who composedly waited for support, before shipping it on centrally to Felix Nmecha. The latter then neatly sifted the ball through to Baku, who cut back onto his weaker foot to notch coolly past Oliver Baumann for his third goal in his last four games. With the intensity of the game having ostensibly deflated, the hosts struggled to generate chances to get back into the relatively quiet affair. Baku’s goal therefore proved the winner, with the Wolves extending their winning run to four Bundesliga matches, whilst simultaneously pulling five points clear of opponents Hoffenheim heading into the winter break.
- Hoffenheim have now not won in eight Bundesliga games, with their last victory coming against Schalke in a 3-0 triumph in September.
- Wolfsburg are on their best run of form since January/February 2021, recording eight games unbeaten (9 games back then), with four straight wins.
- Only Bayern and RB Leipzig have picked up more points than Wolfsburg’s 18 in the last eight Bundesliga matches.
- Baumgartner scored his fourth goal of the Bundesliga campaign.
- This was the first time since 2017 that Hoffenheim have ended the calendar year with a Bundesliga defeat.
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Hoffenheim: Baumann (c) - Akpoguma, Vogt, Kabak, - Skov (Kaderabek 82‘), Geiger (Quarshie 90‘+3), Angelino – Stiller, Kramaric (Bruun Larsen 74‘) – Rutter (Asllani 73‘), Baumgartner
Unused subs: Pentke, Quaresma, Becker, Damar, Bischof
Out: Bebou (knee), Bicakcic (fitness), Dabbur (shoulder), Hübner (ankle), Philipp (finger), Prömel (ankle), Rudy (illness), Nsoki (illness)
Coach: Andre Breitenreiter
Wolfsburg: Casteels -, Fischer (Roussillon 89’), Bornauw, Van de Ven, Otavio – Baku, F. Nmecha (Waldschmidt 90’), Arnold (c), Gerhardt (Guilavogui 65’), Kaminski (Philipp 65’) – Marmoush (Svanberg 12’)
Unused subs: Pervan, Schulze, Lacroix, Pejcinovic
Out: Brekalo (illness), Franjic (calf), Kruse (not considered), L. Nmecha (knee), Paredes (calf), Wimmer (illness)
Coach: Niko Kovac
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