Omar Marmoush scored the only goal of the game to earn Wolfsburg victory away at VfB Stuttgart, where the Egypt international spent last season on loan.
Both teams came into the final game before the March international break having failed to win at all this month, and things were unsurprisingly tight for sides in need of points for different causes. Hosts Stuttgart, sporting a special edition black kit with a rainbow instead of their traditional red hoop to promote diversity, fired off the first couple of shots through Genki Haraguchi and Gil Dias as they sought a win that would give them a huge boost in this historically tight relegation battle. However, it was Europe-chasing Wolfsburg who came closest in the first half as Jakub Kaminski found himself in space up the left with only Fabian Bredlow to beat. The goalkeeper stuck out a strong left arm to deny the Pole. Felix Nmecha almost crowned his first senior Germany call-up with a goal – being watched from the Stuttgart bench by another potential international debutant in Josha Vagnoman – but headed over as the score remained level after 45 minutes.
Stuttgart are the division’s third-lowest scorers and were reminded of a marksman they had on loan last season when Marmoush drove unchallenged from the halfway and fired low across Bredlow from 20 yards to put the visitors ahead shortly before the hour mark. The Wolves had the ball in the net for a second time through American teenager Kevin Paredes but it was immediately ruled out for offside. Nowhere else in the Bundesliga had Wolfsburg lost more times after leading 1-0 than in Stuttgart (four), but there was no repeat on this occasion as the Wolves held firm against a late home onslaught, including a tight penalty call for handball, to keep themselves very much within reach of a potential European qualification spot. Stuttgart, meanwhile, slipped to the foot of the table after three of the other four teams scrapping at the bottom got a result on Saturday.
- Five goals this season is a new personal best for Marmoush. He got his first three in the Bundesliga in Stuttgart colours last term.
- Stuttgart have now conceded a league-high nine goals from outside the penalty area this season, including five since the winter break.
- By contrast, Wolfsburg have scored five times from outside the box. They did so only four times in the whole of 2021/22.
- Stuttgart have the second-worst record of all teams in the Rückrunde (four points from eight games), only ahead of Hoffenheim (three). They also failed to score in a game for just the second time in 2023.
- Wolfsburg’s record when scoring first away from home this season is now five wins and one draw. Their 21 points on the road this campaign (six wins, three draws) is already more than they managed in the whole of last season.
- Since winning the Bundesliga in 2009, Wolfsburg have managed more wins over Stuttgart (15) than any other side. However, this is only their second in their last six visits to the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
Stuttgart: Bredlow - Anton (Vagnoman 62’), Mavropanos, Ito, Sosa - Endo (c), Karazor (Millot 62’), Haraguchi (Pfeiffer 88') - Dias (Coulibaly 62’), Silas, Führich (Tomas 62’)
Unused subs: Müller, Zagadou, Egloff, Perea
Out: Guirassy (adductor), Stenzel (thigh)
Coach: Bruno Labbadia
Wolfsburg: Casteels - Fischer, Lacroix, Van de Ven, Otavio (Bornauw 82’) - F. Nmecha (Guilavogui 76’), Arnold (c), Gerhardt - Wimmer (Baku 58’), Marmoush (Wind 82’), Kaminski (Paredes 58’)
Unused subs: Pervan, Cozza, Svanberg, Ambros
Out: Franjic (muscular) L. Nmecha (knee)
Coach: Niko Kovac
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