Wolfsburg extended their unbeaten run to 10 games in all competitions, and kept an eighth clean sheet in a row, thanks to a battling performance in a 2-0 victory over Hertha Berlin.
Wolfsburg 2-0 Hertha Berlin
Goals: 1-0 Klünter (o.g. 38'), 2-0 Lacroix (89')
Red card: Pongracic (90'+4)
Wolfsburg might have been the Bundesliga’s most in-form team at kick-off, having kept clean sheets in their previous six straight league matches while earning 16 of a possible 18 points in the process, but there was very little to see from them in terms of attacking in intent in the first half. Hertha, just above the relegation zone following four defeats in their last five outings, were aggressive in their approach and although they failed to seriously test Koen Casteels in the home goal, long-range efforts from Lucas Tousart and Sami Khedira that narrowly missed the target were at least signs of their determination. Nevertheless, it was the Wolves who took a narrow lead into the break after a rare foray forward, when Ridle Baku’s teasing right-wing cross – aimed at Wout Weghorst in the middle, was flicked into the net by Hertha defender Lukas Klünter.
The visitors’ hope of fighting back suffered a blow in the second half as winter signing Sami Khedira was taken off injured. Goalkeeper Rune Jarstein almost made things worse with a wayward pass out from the back, allowing Weghorst to send Xaver Schlager in on goal, but Niklas Stark was able to clear with a last-ditch tackle. Hertha did go close to levelling the score, however, when Vladimir Darida crossed from the left to the back post to the unmarked Deyovaisio Zeefuik, whose point-blank header was pawed away by Casteels. Jhon Cordoba was also denied by another sublime save from Casteels, and although Hertha were initially awarded a penalty for a foul on the Colombian in the build-up to that chance, it was rescinded after a VAR check. Krzysztof Piatek also hit the post in the closing stages as the away side desperately pushed for an equaliser, but Maxence Lacroix's late header from a Maximilian Arnold corner allowed Wolfsburg to pick up another clean sheet and another win to cement third spot in the table.
- Wolfsburg did not manage a single shot on goal in the first half, but still went in 1-0 up at the break.
- Klünter's own goal was Hertha's first this season.
- Marin Pongracic made his first start since Matchday 15 as Wolves head coach Oliver Glasner changed his starting XI for the first time in five games due to John Brooks' suspension.
- Weghorst has failed to score in three successive Bundesliga matches for only the third time this season. He hasn't gone four without a goal this term, though.
- Wolfsburg are one of three teams yet to lose at home this season (W7, D4). Bayern and Eintracht Frankfurt are the other two.
- Lacroix's goal was his first in the Bundesliga, in his 21st league appearance.
Wolfsburg: Casteels (c) - Mbabu (Guilavogui 77'), Lacroix, Pongracic, Otavio - Schlager (Mehmedi 90'+2), Arnold (Philipp 90'+2) - Baku, Gerhardt, Steffen (Victor 86') - Weghorst (Bialek 86')
Unused subs: Pervan, Bruma, Roussillon, Ginczek
Out: Brekalo (concussion), Brooks (suspended)
Coach: Oliver Glasner
Hertha: Jarstein - Klünter, Stark (c), M. Dardai, Mittelstädt - Khedira (Guendouzi 54'), Tousart - Zeefuik (Netz 74'), Darida (Lukebakio 74'), Radonjic (Cordoba 46') - Cunha (Piatek 46')
Unused subs: Schwolow, Pekarik, Alderete, Ascacibar,
Out: Boyata (foot), Dilrosun (knee), Leckie (thigh), Plattenhardt (hip), Torunarigha (groin)
Coach: Pal Dardai