Wolfsburg took another step towards UEFA Champions League qualification after consolidating third place thanks to a battling 1-0 win over Cologne on Saturday, with Wout Weghorst teeing up Josip Brekalo for the only goal of the game.
Cologne might be scrambling against relegation, but it was the away side who were the better team in the first 45 minutes. They began on the front foot and never allowed their hosts any time on the ball, to the extent that Wolfsburg struggled to make it out of their own half in the opening quarter of an hour. Cologne should have been in front by then, as Jonas Hector struck the crossbar from close range following Noah Katterbach’s cross from the left. The Billy Goats’ captain had another chance moments later, but he drilled wide on the turn from the edge of the box. It took Wolfsburg 33 minutes to muster a proper response – Jerome Roussillon had fired a harmless shot over the bar on 16 minutes – but they almost edged ahead when Xaver Schlager curled just wide from the edge of the area.
Wolfsburg coach Oliver Glasner evidently gave his charges the hairdryer treatment during the interval as they were far more active in the second half, with Yannick Gerhardt particularly lively, dangerously shooting over the bar on one of several darting runs into the box. They eventually took the lead in the 69th minute when Weghorst, who had been kept in check until then, found space on the edge of the area and flicked the ball to his left to Brekalo, who curled an effort into the bottom corner. Weghorst then tested Timo Horn himself for the first time, but the Dutchman’s shot from 25 yards was well saved. Weghorst also went close to getting on the scoresheet in stoppage time with a firm back-post header from Maximilian Arnold's corner, but Horn produced a fine reflex save to keep it out. The result keeps Wolfsburg in third, now on 54 points, while Cologne remain thick in the relegation mire.
- Weghorst's assist, his sixth of the season, means he has been directly involved in 23 of Wolfsburg's 46 Bundesliga goals this season (17 scored).
- Brekalo scored his fourth goal of 2020/21, equalling his personal best tally from the 2017/18 season.
- Wolfsburg have already collected more points this term (54) than in the entirety of last season (49).
- Just three defeats and 22 goals conceded after 27 matches of a Bundesliga season are both Bundesliga records for Wolfsburg.
- The Wolves have kept five straight clean sheets in a row at home, setting a new club record.
- Cologne have now gone seven without a win. Only Schalke are enduring a worse run.
Watch: Weghorst: "It's a good result for us"
Wolfsburg: Casteels (c) - Mbabu, Lacroix, Brooks, Roussillon (Philipp 62') - Schlager (Guilavogui 90'+3), Arnold - Baku, Gerhardt, Brekalo (Victor 73') - Weghorst
Unused subs: Pervan, Bruma, Bialek, Ginczek, Pongracic, Siersleben
Out: Mehmedi (calf), Otavio (suspended), Steffen (ankle)
Coach: Oliver Glasner
Cologne: T. Horn - Ehizibue, Mere, Czichos, Katterbach (Kainz 75') - Skhiri, Hector (c) (Andersson 75') - Wolf (Dennis 81'), Drexler (Rexhbecaj 66'), Jakobs - Duda (Meyer 81')
Unused subs: Zieler, Schmitz, J. Horn, Özcan
Out: Bornauw (back), Thielmann (muscular)
Coach: Markus Gisdol