A superb long-range strike from Yunus Malli handed Wolfsburg a much-needed win in the battle against the drop away to local rivals Hannover 96 in the final fixture of Matchday 20.
Hannover 0-1 Wolfsburg
Goals: 0-1 Malli (72')
Having taken four points from their first two games of the year, Hannover were the form side coming into this one and began confidently against the Wolves. Andre Breitenreiter's men were aggressive in midfield and looked to get forward quickly, but were held at bay by a disciplined visiting side deprived of several first-team regulars, including John Brooks (injury), Josuha Guilavogui (suspension) and Divock Origi (illness). Still, the best chance of the half fell to the guests, but young Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen's header was well saved by Philipp Tschauner.
The second half continued in much the same fashion, with the teams cancelling each other out in a congested midfield. However, that all changed in the 72nd minute when Yunus Malli unleashed a vicious, swerving shot from 30 yards to put Wolfsburg in front. Hannover responded by getting forward with greater urgency in the closing stages and almost grabbed an equaliser when Ihlas Bebou struck the woodwork with a well-taken volley, but it was not to be for the hosts, as the Wolves earned three vital points to move up to 13th.
- Malli scored his first away goal for Wolfsburg, and his first in the Bundesliga since September 2016.Wolfsburg youngster Elvis Rexhbecaj made his Bundesliga debut in this match.For the first time in five years, Hannover come into a home game against Wolfsburg ahead of their local rivals in the Bundesliga.Hannover coach Breitenreiter made 24 Bundesliga appearances for Wolfsburg between January 1998 and November 1999, scoring one goal.Wolfsburg are unbeaten in the last seven competitive games against Hannover.The Wolves came out 1-0 winners when the sides met in the DFB Cup in October 2017, Felix Uduokhai scoring the only goal of the game.Wolfsburg coach Schmidt has won all three Bundesliga games he has played against Hannover (with former club Mainz) and has not conceded a goal in the process.
Hannover: Tschauner – Elez (Bebou 66'), Sane, Anton – Sorg (Benschop 85'), Schwegler (Karaman 75'), Fossum, Ostrzolek – Klaus, Harnik – Füllkrug
Unused substitutes: Esser, Bakalorz, Maier, Hübner
Absentees: Jonathas (thigh), Prib (cruciate ligament), Korb (suspended)
Coach: Andre Breitenreiter
Wolfsburg: Casteels – Verhaegh, Bruma, Knoche, Tisserand – Arnold, Malli (Jung 90'), Gerhardt – Steffen, Osimhen, Didavi (Rexhbecaj 84')
Unused substitutes: Grün, William, Bazoer, Brekalo, Itter,
Absentees: Dimata (suspended), Guilavogui (suspended), Camacho (ankle), Blaszczykowski (back), Brooks (knee), Hinds (hip), Origi (illness)
Coach: Martin Schmidt
Watch: Malli was at a loss for words to explain his wondergoal