Wolfsburg attacker Renato Steffen scored twice - including a sensational solo goal - as the Wolves extended their unbeaten run to four successive Bundesliga games with a thumping 4-0 victory over Mainz.
Wolfsburg 4-0 Mainz
Goals: 1-0 Brekalo (21'), 2-0 Steffen (45'), 3-0 Gerhardt (49'), 4-0 Steffen (68')
A Wolfsburg win did not look likely in the opening stages in which Mainz began at a breathless pace and pinned their hosts back around their own penalty area. However, despite winning six corners in the first ten minutes, they were unable to force any meaningful openings and the home team gradually muscled their way into the game, taking the lead midway through the half thanks to Josip Brekalo’s stunning, swerving shot from 25 yards out. The Wolves subsequently remained on top and doubled their lead just before the interval when Daniel Ginczek dribbled past Ronael Pierre-Gabriel down the left and crossed into the middle, where a defensive mix-up between Robin Zentner and Moussa Niakhate left Steffen with a simple header from close range.
If that goal put the home team very much in control, the match was effectively killed off early in the second half when Steffen released Ginczek down the right channel. He squeezed the ball back from the byline across the six-yard box to the unmarked Yannick Gerhardt, who tapped into the unguarded net. Wolfsburg were in no mood to ease off after that, however, with Steffen volleying wide and Brekalo narrowly missing the target when one-on-one with Zentner, as Mainz simply had no answer to the Wolves’ power. Steffen then crowned a brilliant individual display with a wonderful solo goal, dribbling past three defenders inside the box before poking the ball into the far corner as Oliver Glasner’s side climbed to seventh in the table.
- Brekalo's goal was his third of the season - all of which have been from long distance. It was his 10th Bundesliga strike overall, and just his second with his weaker left foot.
- Wolfsburg duo Maximilian Arnold (suspended) and captain Josuha Guilavogui (knee injury) both missed a Bundesliga game for the first time this season.
- The Wolves’ first three shots on target all ended in goals.
- Gerhardt’s goal was his first in the Bundesliga this season; his last was exactly one year ago, on 23 February 2019 against Gladbach. He has now scored six top-flight goals in six different games – all of which have ended in wins for his team.
- Steffen netted his second Bundesliga brace and first since his double against Hannover in April 2019.
- The Wolves are unbeaten in nine against Mainz, which is their best run against a top-flight opponent.
Watch: Steffen: "My second goal was instinct!"
Wolfsburg: Casteels (c) - Mbabu, Knoche, Brooks, Otavio - Steffen (Joao Victor 71'), Schlager, Gerhardt, Brekalo (Karamoko 82') - Ginczek (Mehmedi 74'), Weghorst
Unused subs: Pervan, Klinger, Horn, Tisserand, Azzaoui, May
Out: Arnold (suspended), Camacho (ankle), Pongracic (suspended), Roussillon (thigh), William (knee), Guilavogui (knee)
Coach: Oliver Glasner
Mainz: Zentner - Pierre-Gabriel, Bruma, Niakhate - Baku, Barreiro (Boetius 46'), Latza (c), Brosinski (Onisiwo 62') - Öztunali (Mateta 67'), Quaison - Szalai
Unused subs: Müller, Aaron, Ji, Kunde, Mwene, Fernandes
Out: Bell (ankle)
Coach: Achim Beierlorzer
Watch: Bruma: "Wolfsburg wanted win more than us"