Wolfsburg - VfL Wolfsburg climbed to fifth place in the Bundesliga table with victory over Werder Bremen in Saturday's late game at the Volkswagen Arena.
Wolfsburg fly out the blocks
An early strike from Maximilian Arnold and two more after the break from Ivica Olic and Ivan Perisic earned the Wolves a 3-0 home win against a Bremen side who rarely threatened their hosts, but managed to keep the scoreline tight until the final 20 minutes. Both teams had gone into the game on twelve points, but the win was enough to move Wolfsburg seven places clear of their northern rivals.
The hosts got off to a flier with just seven minutes on the clock. Ivica Olic's back-heel teed up 19-year-old midfielder Arnold for a fine left-footed finish past Sebastian Mielitz to put the Wolves ahead with their quickest goal of the season to date. The Bremen keeper came to his side's rescue three minutes later, pulling off a fine reflex save to deny Ivan Perisic as the Wolves sought to capitalise on their early advantage.
It was one-way traffic in the opening quarter of an hour and Mielitz was forced to come to his team's aid again, first foiling Olic, then blocking Perisic's follow-up effort. Midway through the half, Bremen finally got a sight of goal themselves, Aaron Hunt running onto a good ball from Santiago Garcia, only to be dispossessed inside the box by Patrick Ochs' last-ditch tackle.
The rest of the half was a more even-handed affair, with Wolfsburg still on top for the most part, but rarely threatening to add to Arnold's early opener. At the other end, Hunt had Diego Benaglio stretching to claw a 34th-minute free-kick out of the top corner and shortly after that, the Wolves' custodian pulled off another fine reflex save to deny Zlatko Junuzovic after the Bremen midfielder had latched onto a headed flick-on.
There was no change to the general pattern after the restart, as Dieter Hecking's men continued to hold the upper hand against the visitors, who were struggling to get any real fluency into their play. They were resilient enough, however, to restrict the hosts to the odd half-chance until the 63rd minute, when Arnold ran onto Ricardo Rodriguez's defence-splitting pass and forced another tremendous save out of Mielitz.
Croatian double act
The Bremen keeper's opposite number, Benaglio, then almost gifted Hunt a simple tap-in at the other end after misjudging Junuzovic's cross, but the Switzerland stopper recovered in time to smother the ball. That could have resulted in the equaliser, but it was soon 2-0 to Wolfsburg when Olic got his just reward for a tireless performance, nodding home fellow Croat Perisic's cross after the latter had been released by a fine pass from Ochs.
Mielitz, powerless to prevent Wolfsburg's second, managed to keep out a 79th-minute thunderbolt from Arnold as the Wolves looked to seal the win. They did get their third a minute from time, Perisic drilling home from just inside the box after being sent through by Willi Evseev, fresh off the bench for a brief, yet productive first taste of league action this season.
Line-ups and statistics
He may not have scored on Matchday 10, but Wolfsburg star has scored some crackers in his time. Watch his five best Bundesliga strikes, courtesy of the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: