Dodi Lukebakio scored a header in the final minute of normal time as Jürgen Klinsmann's Hertha Berlin got the better of a dominant Wolfsburg on Saturday, bouncing back from last weekend's heavy defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich.
Wolfsburg 1-2 Hertha Berlin
Goals: 1-0 Mehmedi (68'), 1-1 Torunarigha (74'), 1-2 Lukebakio (90')
Wolfsburg made a bright start to their first home game of 2020, although they didn't really trouble Rune Jarstein in the opening exchanges – the Hertha defence dealt with Xaver Schlager's rising cross towards Wout Weghorst, before their keeper collected Jerome Roussillon's shot from distance. The best early opportunity fell to Hertha's Marius Wolf, but the Borussia Dortmund loanee failed to connect properly after being picked out by Lukebakio inside the six-yard box. The visitors were limited to half-chances as the Wolves continued to assert their dominance, with captain Josuha Guilavogui almost teeing up Weghorst following a Josip Brekalo free-kick, and then having a go from the edge of the area, forcing Jarstein to make a rather unorthodox save with his knee. Robin Knoche also headed wide and Maximilian Arnold fired off target as the hosts turned the screw, but they were unable to break the deadlock before half-time, despite 10 shots to Hertha's three.
Lukebakio found himself in a shooting position within 20 seconds of the restart, but the Belgian winger, without a goal since early December, screwed his effort into the stands. Renato Steffen then latched onto a brilliant long ball over the top, but Jarstein did very well to block the Switzerland winger's attempt and gather the follow-up from Weghorst. In the end it was another Swiss international who broke the deadlock: five minutes after replacing Brekalo, Admir Mehmedi whipped in a teasing cross that evaded everybody and found its way into the back of the net. Wolfsburg maybe thought they had done enough at that point, but Hertha had other ideas, and Jordan Torunarigha brought them level after towering above Kevin Mbabu and looping a header over Koen Casteels. Jarstein produced several brilliant saves as Wolfsburg pushed for a winner, but it was Lukebakio who stole the three points for Hertha. Just after being denied by a world-class save from Casteels, the Belgian headed over his compatriot in the 90th minute to hand Klinsmann's visitors a rather undeserved but extremely precious victory.
- Lukebakio is Hertha's top scorer this season with five goals. Four of them have come on the road.
- The Old Lady have now scored 10 goals on their last four visits to Wolfsburg, winning twice and drawing twice.
- Torunarigha scored his first Bundesliga goal since December 2018. All five of his strikes in the German top flight have come from set pieces - four from corners, and one from a free-kick.
- Wolfsburg only registered a single goal by a substitute during the first half of the season. They have already doubled that tally in 2020, with Steffen's goal last week and Mehmedi's today.
- Only Robert Lewandowski (31) and Timo Werner (23) scored more Bundesliga goals in 2019 than Weghorst, who netted 18 times for the Wolves.
- Prior to the 4-0 loss to Bayern last week, Klinsmann’s heaviest defeat as a Bundesliga coach had been the 5-1 thrashing by Wolfsburg while in charge of the Munich club in April 2009.
Wolfsburg: Casteels – Mbabu, Tisserand, Knoche, Roussillon – Schlager, Guilavogui (c), Arnold (Ginczek 89') – Steffen (Joao Victor 82'), Weghorst, Brekalo (Mehmedi 63')
Unused subs: Pervan, William, Otavio, Klaus, Gerhardt, Brooks
Out: Camacho (ankle), Pongracic (foot)
Coach: Oliver Glasner
Hertha: Jarstein – Klünter, Stark (c), Torunarigha, Mittelstädt – Skjelbred, Ascacibar – Wolf, Grujic, Dilrosun (Esswein 76') – Lukebakio (Selke 90'+2)
Unused subs: Kraft, Pekarik, Leckie, Köpke, Ibisevic, Plattenhardt
Out: Boyata (suspended), Darida (cold), Maier (match fitness), Rekik (unspecified)
Coach: Jürgen Klinsmann