Wolfsburg - VfL Wolfsburg overcame an initially stubborn VfB Stuttgart side to seal a comfortable 2-0 win in new coach Dieter Hecking's first game in charge.
Chances at a premium
After a quiet opening half, came to the fore to fire the Wolves in front with angled drive. The win was then sealed by Alexander Madlung, who leapt highest to head in the Brazilian's dangerous free-kick.
This was the first real opportunity for the Wolfsburg players to impress their newly-appointed coach Dieter Hecking, but Stuttgart had a gameplan to frustrate their hosts and it worked to good effect in the opening moments. Zdravko Kuzmanovic and Christian Gentner stifled Brazilian midfield maestro Diego, and with top scorer Bas Dost on the bench, Wolfsburg’s attack looked ineffective, with debutant Ivan Perisic also quiet.
By the same token, however, Stuttgart were missing their biggest threat in attack, suspended striker Vedad Ibisevic, scorer of ten goals this term. Japanese international Shinji Okazaki led the line but found himself well marked by Wolfsburg’s Naldo and Simon Kjaer and saw little of the ball. A poked effort from Ibrahima Traore that brushed the side netting was the closest that either side came in an uninspiring first half.
Game comes to life
Yet if the first half had been uneventful, the second was anything but. Okazaki raced clear minutes after the restart but could only fire over the bar, before substitute Dost did the same at the other end. The Dutchman’s introduction had made a difference though, and Wolfsburg soon took the lead. As the defence backed off, Diego found space to skip clear of two defenders and drive a shot into the far corner.
The presence of Dost added a new dimension to VfL’s attack and they soon began to dominate proceedings. Diego was at the heart of all that was good about their play and, after going close to adding a second himself, his free-kick invited Madlung to glance in for 2-0. Stuttgart attempted to rally, but Martin Harnik missed their best opportunities on a bad day at the office for the Swabians. For Wolfsburg, the win sealed a double over Stuttgart and they now move up to 13th place.
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