VfL Wolfsburg lost more ground in the race for European qualification next season after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to SV Darmstadt 98 on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors were characteristically dogged in the opening period and their energetic pressing high up the pitch made life difficult for Wolfsburg. As a result the Wolves were unable to employ their preferred short passing game, leading to a full-blooded midfield battle that was entertaining but offered little by way of goalscoring chances.
Wolfsburg gradually exerted greater dominance on the match as the second half progressed but their attacking efforts were invariably thwarted by Darmstadt's resilient rearguard. It was largely one-way traffic towards the visitors' goal in the closing period but Darmstadt took a shock lead late on when Sandro Wagner tapped in Marcel Heller's cross following a swift counter-attack. Yet there was a final twist in in stoppage-time as Andre Schürrle drilled in an excellent strike from the edge of the box to rescue a point for the hosts.
Man of the match
The Wolves were not at their best here but Schürrle's efforts to force a goal for his side were admirable. The Germany international was a tireless presence in midfield and had more shots on goal (seven) and made more sprints (39) than anyone else on the pitch.
Darmstadt may be hovering precariously above the relegation zone but it is thanks to their away form that they are staying afloat. Only FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund have been better on the road this season than the Lilies, who have earned 20 of their 28 points on their travels.
- Wolfsburg's Max Kruse celebrated his 28th birthday today.
- Marcel Schäfer made his 300th competitive outing for the Wolves in this match.
- Wagner has scored eight of Darmstadt's last 12 goals.
Wolfsburg: Casteels - Vieirinha (Bruno Henrique 79'), Knoche, Dante, Schäfer - Guilavogui (Putaro 72'), Gustavo (c), Arnold - Caligiuri (Träsch 38'), Kruse, Schürrle
Darmstadt: Mathenia - Jungwirth, Sulu (c), Rajkovic, Caldirola - Heller (Gorka 90'), Niemeyer, Gondorf, Rausch (Kempe 87') - Vrancic (Rosenthal 81'), Wagner