Wolfsburg - VfL Wolfsburg extended their unbeaten streak to six matches courtesy of a 1-1 draw at home to Hamburger SV in the Matchday 14 opener.
Wolfsburg caught cold
Ricardo Rodriguez levelled matters from the penalty spot for the dominant hosts after Hakan Calhanoglu had given Hamburg an early lead in an entertaining northern derby, while the sheer number of goalscoring chances at both ends could have seen either side snatch all three points after the break.
Following on from their recent run that has seen Dieter Hecking's men move within touching distance of qualification for Europe, Wolfsburg quickly settled into their rhythm, continuously passing their way towards the visitors' goal. Ivica Olic twice came close to breaking the deadlock, but the Croatian hitman failed to find the target on both occasions.
Wolfsburg kept pushing forward against a deep-lying Hamburg side, though the 2009 Bundesliga champions were caught cold after 19 minutes when goalkeeper Diego Benaglio failed to deal with Calhanoglu's wicked free-kick and inadvertantly helped Hamburg to an unlikely lead. Hamburg should have had a second when Calhanoglu teed up Pierre-Michel Lasogga, but he fired wide with just Benaglio to beat.
Rodriguez from the spot
Wolfsburg, however, largely remained in the driving seat, and their attacking efforts soon paid off, as left-back Rodriguez gave Rene Adler no chance from a penalty awarded for a Heiko Westermann foul on Wolves midfielder Daniel Caligiuri. HSV stuck to their counterattacking strategy, and almost saw their approach come to further success when Maximilian Beister tested Benaglio from a narrow angle.
The visitors gave Wolfsburg another warning only seconds into the second half when Tolgay Arslan's long-range rocket sailed just over, yet it was the Wolves who continued to enjoy the lion's share of possession, resulting in further promising opportunities for Caligiuri and Maximilian Arnold, who were both denied by Benaglio.
Hamburg, boosted by their recent home success against Hannover 96, were never going to settle for a point at the Volkswagen Arena, however, and they began taking a much braver approach a good hour into the game, upping the pressure on the hosts. Arlan, Calhanoglu and Tomas Rincon were presented with further opportunities, while Luiz Gustavo swerved just wide on one of Wolfsburg's few late forays forward.
Hecking tried to add new impetus to the Wolves attack shortly afterwards by introducing another striker in Bas Dost, but it was all Hamburg in the closing stages, and they should have sealed three points five minutes from time when Ivo Ilicevic could only direct his close-range effort onto the crossbar, leaving both teams to frustrated at taking a solitary point from a pulsating encounter.
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