Wolfsburg battle back to draw with spirited Werder Bremen
A Josuha Guilavogui goal six minutes from time denied Werder Bremen victory in Wolfsburg, the recently-promoted side having led for large parts through Niclas Füllkrug and Leonardo Bittencourt goals.
Wolfsburg 2-2 Bremen
Goals: 1-0 L. Nmecha 11' (assist: Wimmer), 1-1 Füllkrug 21', 1-2 Bittencourt (assist: Ducksch), 2-2 Guilavogui 84' (assist: Nmecha)
On a high following their promotion back to the Bundesliga, Werder were looking to upstage their hosts, who had Niko Kovac at the helm for his top-flight start with the Wolves. Marvin Ducksch and Füllkrug were the second division's leading forward partnership last term and the duo were quickly menacing as Bremen made a solid start to their 58th Bundesliga season. Relief for Wolfsburg, then, when their top scorer from last season, Lukas Nmecha, accepted new arrival Patrick Wimmer's perfect assist before dinking a wonderful finish over Jiri Pavlenka. Undeterred, Ole Werner's men stuck to their attacking gameplay and they were level through Füllkrug's drive from range that zipped into the corner. Sensing the home side's frustration, the River Islanders came again. From wide on the left, Ducksch dropped a pitching-wedge like pass onto the head of Bittencourt, who nodded high into the net.
Up against it as they looked to avoid a disappointing start to the new campaign, Wolfsburg raised the pace after the restart, however, aside from Nmecha's early sniff at goal, the 2008/09 Bundesliga champions struggled to create. In fact, it was Werder who looked more likely to add a third, with Koen Casteels racing off his line to deny Füllkrug before Ducksch failed to get sufficient height on a chipped effort at goal. Kovac rang the changes, and one of them, Jakub Kaminski, had a superb chance to level when played in by Maximilian Arnold. The epitome of cool in the Werder goal, Pavlenka watched the runner all the way and blocked Kaminski's prodded shot. Despite their fate appearing set after that miss, Wolfsburg nevertheless stuck at it and when Nmecha headed substitute Max Kruse's cross to the right, he found Guilavogui with time to shoot. The 31-year-old did not hang around, lashing in an equaliser that drove the Volkswagen Arena into frenzied celebration.
- Füllkrug's first-half goal was his 29th in the Bundesliga.
- Die Grün-Weißen recorded a second-division best 16 goals with shots from distance last term. Füllkrug registered their first from range in 2022/23.
- Despite standing at just 5' 6", six of Bittencourt's 27 Bundesliga goals have been headers.
- With an average age of 24.2, Wolfsburg lined up with their youngest side since September 2017.
- Lukas Nmecha was Wolfsburg’s eight-goal top scorer last season.
- The fixture has now witnessed 174 goals across 49 meetings to date.
- Ducksch and Füllkrug accounted for 39 of Bremen’s 65 Bundesliga 2 goals in 2021/22.
- Bremen are playing their 58th season of Bundesliga football. Bayern Munich are the only other club to feature in so many but have played more matches.
Watch: Lukas Nmecha: "We have a lot to improve on"
Wolfsburg: Casteels – Bornauw, Lacroix, Van de Ven – Baku (Kruse 76'), Svanberg (Guilavogui 46'), Arnold (c), Marmoush (Waldschmidt 67') – Wimmer (Kaminski 67'), Nmecha, Brekalo (Wind 56')
Unused subs: Pervan, Otávio, Franjic, Vranckx
Out: Fischer (calf), Gerhardt (ligament)
Coach: Niko Kovac
Bremen: Pavlenka – Pieper, Veljkovic, Friedl (c) – Weiser (Agu 75'), Stage, Groß, Bittencourt (Rapp 75'), Jung (Buchanan 69')– Füllkrug, (Burke 80') Ducksch
Unused subs: Zetterer, Stark, Gruev, Schmidt
Out: Dinkci (muscular), Mbom (Achilles), Salifou (abductor), Schmid (not included)
Coach: Ole Werner
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