In a match with few clear-cut chances,VfL Wolfsburg needed over 80 minutes and the energy of new signing Paul-Georges Ntep to find a way through the defensive ranks of ten-man Hamburger SV as the Wolves claimed a vital three points in their fight to avoid relegation.
VfL Wolfsburg 1-0 Hamburger SV
Goals: 1-0 Gomez (82')
Red card: Ekdal (33')
This was a tie both sides needed to win, but neither could afford to lose, and that showed in the play throughout the first half. Wolfsburg’s new signing Yunus Malli had the first real shot in anger in the opening ten minutes, but his curling effort went just wide. Otherwise, there was little action in front of goal as the home side controlled the game with 66 per cent possession, but without an end product. The game did come to life just after the half-hour mark when Hamburg midfielder Albin Ekdal was shown a second yellow card for his second foul on another Wolfsburg newcomer, Paul-Georges Ntep, but the Wolves failed to make their extra-man advantage count in the first half.
The second 45 minutes began much the same as the first as Wolfsburg increased their share of the possession, but to little effect. Ten-man HSV were content to defend and then counter, and did seemingly pose a greater goal threat than the hosts. However, the Wolves kept huffing and puffing, and did eventually blow the Hamburg house down thanks to Mario Gomez’s close-range finish with ten minutes to go. Wolfsburg have new man Ntep to thank for the winner as he ran past a tired Hamburg defence to cut the ball back for the waiting Gomez in the centre.