Wolfsburg – VfL Wolfsburg and SC Freiburg shared the spoils in a pulsating 2-2 draw at the Volkswagen Arena on Matchday 32.
Perisic on a roll
The visitors from the deep South West battled from behind twice to move another point closer towards definitive top-flight survival, while a brace from the in-form Ivan Perisic was ultimately not enough to give Dieter Hecking's troops the three points they were seeking to move - temporarily at least - above Leverkusen in the race for fourth place and a UEFA Champions League qualifying slot.
The Wolves hit the ground running, taking the lead just three minutes in with the first opportunity of the contest. Pavel Krmas wrestled Kevin De Bruyne to the floor, earning himself a booking, and Ricardo Rodriguez's resultant free-kick into the box was met by Perisic, who headed home into the far corner. It was the third game running he had found the net and his eighth goal of the season, both personal Bundesliga bests for the Croatian midfielder.
VfL sought to capitalise swiftly on that early advantage, Maximilian Arnold and Christian Träsch both almost teeing up Ivica Olic on the back of good approach work, before Freiburg keeper Oliver Baumann blocked a tight-angled effort from Perisic with his legs at the expense of a corner. Freiburg started to shake themselves awake as an attacking entity around the 20-minute mark, and after Vladimir Derda had set up Jonathan Schmid for an angled effort that Max Grün managed to block at the near post, the Czech midfielder took matters into his own hands, clattering the bar with a long-range effort that had the Wolves keeper beaten all ends up.
Freiburg hit back
A far more evenly-balanced affair now, it was Wolfsburg nonetheless who came closer to scoring again before the interval, not least when Julian Schuster almost diverted De Bruyne's cross into his own net following a corner. Olic was then foiled twice in quick succession in the closing minutes of the half, first by Matthias Ginter's last-ditch tackle, then by Baumann's legs after being played in by compatriot Perisic.
A goal down at the break, Freiburg came out fired up after the restart and only a reflex save from Grün prevented Schuster levelling from close range four minutes in. Perisic tested Baumann again in the 57th minute but the visitors were rewarded for their positive start to the second half just past the hour mark, as Admir Mehmedi beat Träsch on the left-hand side of the box and drilled in a low shot which slipped under Grün's body and into the corner of the net to restore parity.
Now it was Freiburg's turn to smell blood but even as they pushed on in search of another goal Hecking got pro-active, bringing off Slobodan Medojevic for the more attack-minded Vieirinha. Within a minute, the move paid off as the sub freed up Träsch down the left and his low ball into the middle was swept home by Perisic. It was end-to-end stuff now and within a couple of minutes Christian Streich's men should really have been level again, but Karim Guede's hesitant finish to a Mehmedi tee-up gave Träsch time enough to get in a goal-line clearance.
Streich then introduced Marco Terrazzino off the bench for his first taste of action following a long spell out with injury and it was to prove a dream comeback as the 23-year-old forward latched onto a pass from Schuster, shrugged off the attentions of Träsch and dispatched a clinical far-post finish from the edge of the six-yard box. With five minutes to go, Darida was denied a third for Freiburg by Träsch's crucial intervention before, in added time, De Bruyne slammed a shot against the outside of the post at the other end to round off a thoroughly entertaining encounter.
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