Excellent early form transformed into a negative spiral, but Lukas Nmecha's goals give Wolfsburg reason to believe 2022 can still bring success.
The story so far
Defeat in the first round of the DFB Cup immediately turned up the heat on new coach Mark van Bommel. But the Wolves then embarked on a four-game winning start to the Bundesliga, leading the way after a 1-0 win over RB Leipzig and 2-0 win over Greuther Fürth. The tide turned rapidly, however, and the first defeat of the campaign at Hoffenheim was followed by another. And another. And another. Four straight losses saw Van Bommel lose his job, and his replacement Florian Kohfeldt stopped the rot with back-to-back Bundesliga wins. He could not salvage Wolfsburg's season in Europe, though, as they bowed out of the UEFA Champions League in the group stage. Five consecutive league defeats, meanwhile, have seen the 2008/09 German champions plummet to 13th at the turn of the year.
Lukas Nmecha was the tournament's topscorer as Germany lifted the UEFA European U21 Championship in the summer, and he kept on scoring in the Bundesliga. Signed from Manchester City after impressing on loan at Anderlecht, the 23-year-old found the back of the net six times in 15 league outings - with only one of those coming in a loss. The other five goals helped the Wolves to 13 of their 20 points so far this season, confirming how much Wolfsburg need newly capped Nmecha to be at his best in the second half of the season.
Watch: Lukas Nmecha, a man in focus
Best game so far
After a run of five games without a win, Wolfsburg needed an injection of belief. They got it in Kohfeldt's first game in charge on Matchday 10. A 2-0 win at Bayer Leverkusen was earned with two goals in three minutes from Nmecha and Maximilian Arnold, scattering the storm clouds in unexpected fashion.
Watch: Leverkusen 0-2 Wolfsburg - highlights
One to watch
When Arnold is on top of his game, there are few midfielders in the Bundesliga who can rival him. The win in Leverkusen confirmed that the 27-year-old most certainly has not lost it, and if Kohfeldt can tap into his talent, the future will look much brighter.
The view from inside the camp
"We tried to bring things forwards and it didn't work, so that is why we changed coach. Florian's not responsible for what's happening right now and we'll get out of this with him, because he really knows what he is doing, because he's tackling things with serenity and because we want things to change." – Sporting director Jörg Schmadtke.
It may sound obvious, but if Wolfsburg are to get their season back on track, a win over Bochum at the restart is essential. Likewise, when they face Leipzig a fortnight later, only a win would validate their early-season form and suggest a repeat is possible. By the time they face Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 24, they will have some indication of where this topsy-turvy season may be heading.
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