VfL Wolfsburg's Diego returned to form with a first-half brace against Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Matchday 11
VfL Wolfsburg's Diego returned to form with a first-half brace against Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Matchday 11

Wolfsburg's game-changer

Munich - Diego stole the show on Matchday 11 as VfL Wolfsburg recorded their first home win of the season against in-form Bayer 04 Leverkusen.


Netting a direct free kick for the first time since 25 February 2011 and for the eleventh time in his Bundesliga career, the Brazilian's first-half salvo drew a long-awaited line under the Wolves' five-match barren spell at the Volkswagen Arena.

“Diego's first goal was a release. He at last made it happen from a free kick," said interim coach Lorenz-Günther Köstner after the game. "He's fought hard in the last few weeks and made great strides," he added.

"Great strides" indeed. Before the game, the archetypal No10 had scored just once in 810 minutes of Bundesliga action so far this season, but he needed just four bites of the cherry against die Werkself, as he registered a double for the first time since the aforementioned success over Borussia Mönchengladbach in February 2011.

"Best performance"

"It was probably his [Diego's] best performance since he joined the club," said fellow midfielder Makato Hasebe, who would have been forgiven for thinking such an awe-inspiring display might never have come, given Wolfsburg's dreadful start to the 2012/13 campaign.

"[He] was looking for comfort and reassurance, and now he's found it", explained Köstner. "He really impressed on the pitch today," he added - not just a reference to his no.10's goals, but also the defence-splitting pass which led to Bas Dost making it 3-0 before half time.

Onwards and upwards

So what does the future hold for Wolfsburg's resident game-changer? In Köstner, he seems to have found a mentor who complements his personality and approach to the game. Moreover, he's enjoying his football and, importantly, appears every bit a team player.

There's certainly no doubting the flamboyant midfielder's ability. In the last 19 seasons, only Mario Basler (19), Thomas Häßler (15) and Stefan Beinlich (13) have found the net on more occassions from direct free kicks. No question a man who makes things happen, Diego will be hoping Matchday 11 is both the turning point in his and Wolfsburg's faltering season.

Christopher Mayer-Lodge