Wolfsburg made the most of their man advantage against Bayer 04 at the VW Arena on Matchday 4
Wolfsburg made the most of their man advantage against Bayer 04 at the VW Arena on Matchday 4

Rodriguez at the double in Leverkusen rout

Wolfsburg - Ricardo Rodriquez stole the show as VfL Wolfsburg picked up their first league win of the season thanks to a 4-1 success over ten-man Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

Uphill struggle

Die Werkself got off to the worst possible start when Giulio Donati saw red inside eight minutes and although Josip Drmic hit back to cancel out Rodriquez's opener from the resulting penalty, Switzerland's recently crowned Footballer of the Year completed his brace after laying on a first goal of the season for effervescent midfielder Vieirinha. Substitute Aaron Hunt got in on the act with Wolfsburg's fourth.

Leverkusen came into the game having lost eight of the 21 matches in which centre-back Ömer Toprak, out injured for this encounter, had been unavailable for, and it looked like they were heading for another defeat without their prized defensive asset when Rodriguez fired Wolfsburg ahead from the spot following Donati's seventh-minute sending off for a foul on Junior Malanda.

A man to the good, the Wolves looked to make the most of their advantage, with only the outstretched boot of Tin Jedvaj denying Vieirinha a clear sight of Bernd Leno's goal. Kevin De Bruyne then rattled the post from range, before Vieirinha went within inches of extending his side's lead following a driving run down the right-hand side.

Quick-fire exchange

The visitors had barely had a sniff, but Roger Schmidt's men hit back with almost half an hour gone as Drmic capped a route one move with his first goal for the club, finishing calmly pass Swiss compatriot Diego Benaglio. Leverkusen looked like they'd done enough to go in at the break all square, only for Vieirinha to pop up and head home Rodriguez's left-wing cross on the stroke of half time.

Vieirinha was on the prowl again early in the second half, teeing up Daniel Caligiuri, whose goalbound strike was charged down by a red shirt. Further rounds of backs-to-the-wall action followed, with second-half substitute Sebastian Boenisch and defensive partner Jedvaj doing their utmost, for the time being at least, to keep Wolfsburg's lead to just the one goal.

Rodriguez stunner

The attack-minded Wolves were living up to their rapacious moniker and duly extended their lead with just over an hour on the clock. De Bruyne's drilled corner was weighted to perfection, but Rodriguez still had it all to do, taking the ball flush on the volley and leaving Leno with absolutely no chance at all from the edge of the area, the ball nestling in the bottom corner.

Stefan Kießling entered the fray as Schmidt threw caution to the wind, but it was Wolfsburg substitute Aaron Hunt who had the final say, capitalising on Jedvaj's uncertainty in the box to cap a fine team display with his first Bundesliga goal since joining the 2008/09 league champions from SV Werder Bremen in the summer.

Line-ups and statistics