Dutch striker Wout Weghorst bagged himself a hat-trick and two assists as Wolfsburg kept up their European push with a victory over Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Goals: 0-1 Ayhan (30’), 1-1 Mehmedi (34’), 2-1 Weghorst (54’), 3-1 Knoche (57’), 4-1 Weghorst (59’), 4-2 Raman (65’), 5-2 Weghorst (88')
Despite being two of the Bundesliga’s form sides in recent weeks, there was a tense start to proceedings at the Volkswagen Arena. Neither side created any clear-cut chances, although Benito Raman had a header blocked at the far post and Robin Knoche narrowly missed a Maximilian Arnold cross into the six-yard box at the other end. The game burst to life, however, when Fortuna centre-back Kaan Ayhan, this week called up to the Turkey squad for the coming internationals, perfectly placed a free-kick from 20 yards inside Koen Casteels’ right-hand post. The Wolves struck back almost immediately, though, when Admir Mehmedi celebrated his 28th birthday with a delicate lob over Michael Rensing after Weghorst’s pass to level proceedings.
The second half was a much livelier affair, however. Wolfsburg were quickly ahead when Weghorst turned home Jerome Roussillon’s parried cross before turning provider with a header down to Robin Knoche to tap home at a corner for the Wolves’ third of the day. A fourth was not long in coming and was an almost carbon copy of the second with Roussillon racing away on the break, having his ball into the box parried by Rensing and Weghorst there to complete his brace into an empty net. Fortuna did get one back through Raman’s well-taken effort across Casteels after beating the offside trap, but it was too late for the visitors who saw Weghorst wrap up his hat-trick late on with another poacher's effort after Rensing had originally denied him.
- Weghorst is Wolfsburg’s top scorer this season with 12 goals. He has had a hand in all eight of the Wolves’ goals against Fortuna this season.
- The Dutchman is the first Wolfsburg player to score a hat-trick since Mario Gomez in April 2017 at Bayer Leverkusen.
- He also has a club-high five assists in the 2018/19 Bundesliga season.
- Mehmedi’s total of six goals this season is more than the last two campaigns combined. He’s only scored more in his maiden season with Freiburg back in 2013/14 (12).
- Wolfsburg have never lost a competitive game against Düsseldorf, now winning five of the eight meetings.
- Ayhan’s goal was his first from a direct free-kick in the Bundesliga from his 13th attempt (nine for Schalke, four for Fortuna).
Wolfsburg: Casteels – William, Knoche, Brooks, Roussillon (Uduokhai 84') – Gerhardt, Guilavogui (c), Arnold – Mehmedi (Steffen 80’), Weghorst, Brekalo (Klaus 68’)
Unused subs: Pervan, Verhaegh, Malli, Rexhbecaj
Out: Azzaoui (knee), Camacho (ankle), Ginczek (ankle)
Coach: Bruno Labbadia
Düsseldorf: Rensing – Zimmermann, Ayhan, Kaminski, Gießelmann – Stöger, Bodzek (c) (Sobottka 78’), Barkok (Karaman 61’) – Lukebakio (Usami (78’), Hennings, Raman
Unused subs: Theißen, Hoffmann, Morales, Suttner
Out: Contento (cruciate ligament), Drobny (hand), Ducksch (ankle), Fink (not considered), Kownacki (thigh), Zimmer (ankle)
Coach: Friedhelm Funkel
Watch: Weghorst: "I'd never scored a hat-trick before!"