Lukas Nmecha double helps down Arminia Bielefeld to earn Wolfsburg breathing space
Lukas Nmecha scored twice as Wolfsburg earned three valuable points in their battle against the drop with a 4-0 triumph over fellow strugglers Arminia Bielefeld, a result rounded off by a superb Maximilian Arnold free-kick and a Max Kruse header.
Wolfsburg 4-0 Arminia Bielefeld
Goals: 1-0 L. Nmecha 11' (assist: Gerhardt), 2-0 L. Nmecha 38' (assist: Gerhardt), 3-0 Arnold (48'), 4-0 Kruse 53' (assist: Baku)
Wolfsburg coach Florian Kohfeldt had demanded a reaction from his players following a disappointing 3-0 reverse in Augsburg last week, but it was Bielefeld who started the better of the two sides. They could have taken the lead inside two minutes when Robin Hack was sent one-on-one with Koen Casteels, but the visiting goalkeeper made what would prove to be a pivotal save. Nmecha had a goal disallowed for offside as the Wolves gradually seized control, but the 23-year-old got his name on the scoresheet not long afterwards with a thundering drive from Yannick Gerhardt’s clever pass. The same duo combined to double the lead a little while later, Gerhardt heading a cross back into the middle for Nmecha to finish from close range.
Just five points separated these teams at kick-off and, with their lead established, Wolfsburg emerged for the second half determined not to give their visitors any hope of a comeback. Arnold effectively did so with a trademark free-kick just moments after restart, sending a sensational effort into the top corner, before Kruse sealed the win with a header from Ridle Baku’s right-wing cross. The home side subsequently eased off and their momentum was stifled further by a number of substitutions interrupting the flow of the game. An afternoon to forget for Bielefeld was compounded in the closing stages by the team going down to 10 men: Florian Krüger picked up an injury, but with all five permitted substitutions already made, no replacement could be brought on. It mattered little in the end, though; Wolfsburg had long since wrapped up a deserved win that lifts them eight points clear of the drop zone.
- Nmecha registered his first ever Bundesliga brace.
- The Germany international has now scored four of his eight league goals this season in the opening 15 minutes.
- Gerhardt chipped in with two assists on his first start since Matchday 21.
- Casteels made his 220th Bundesliga appearance, a new record for a Belgian player in Germany's top flight.
- Arnold has now scored seven direct free-kicks in the Bundesliga, including two this season.
- Kruse scored his first goal at the Volkswagen Arena since returning to Wolfsburg in January.
Wolfsburg: Casteels (c) - Lacroix (Mbabu 73'), Bornauw, Brooks - Baku, Schlager, Arnold (Paredes 86'), Gerhardt - Wind (F. Nmecha 82'), Kruse (Vranckx 73') - L. Nmecha (Bialek 73')
Unused subs: Pervan, Roussillon, Philipp, Lukebakio
Out: Otavio (knee), Van de Ven (thigh), Waldschmidt (ankle), William (knee)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
Bielefeld: Ortega - Brunner (de Medina 32'), Pieper, Nilsson, Andrade (Laursen 25') - Prietl (c), Schöpf (Kunze 56') - Wimmer (Okugawa 56'), Krüger, Hack - Serra (Lasme 56')
Unused subs: Kapino, Ramos, Castro, Bello
Out: Klos (concussion), Vasiliadis (knee)
Coach: Frank Kramer
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