- Wolves just three points above relegation zone.
- Humbled in Dortmund, Ismael replaced Hecking.
- Two wins to end year augur well for future.
At the halfway point of the 2016/17 Bundesliga season, it is time for bundesliga.com to dissect the campaigns of each club so far.
Here we take a look at VfL Wolfsburg...
Story so far
Following on from the longest journey the Wolves have ever undertaken in Europe - reaching the last eight of the UEFA Champions League - was always going to be a tall order, and so it proved. The Wolves started out with a 2-0 win at FC Augsburg, but they did not win again until Matchday 10, and that run included a humbling 5-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund and 3-1 loss at SV Darmstadt 98. Dieter Hecking paid the price, with Valerien Ismael taking over as head coach and steadying the ship a with back-to-back wins at the end of the calendar year.
Watch: Mario Gomez bagged a brace as Wolfsburg beat Freiburg 3-0 on Mathday 10:
Star player: Ricardo Rodriguez
The Switzerland international full-back is a master of multi-tasking, combining his defensive duties with a deadly left-foot capable of sending in deliveries from deep and wide, while also showing a precision with some stunning set-pieces.
Honourable mention: Mario Gomez
With 142 Bundesliga goals, there is no doubting the pedigree of Mario Gomez. Lured back to Germany by the Wolves after being the Turkish league's top-scorer last season, it took the 31-year-old a bit of time to settle back in, but Wolves fans are now seeing the Germany international in all his glory once again and a lot can be expected from the former VfB Stuttgart and FC Bayern München forward in 2017.
- 11 of Wolfsburg's 16 points this season have come away from home.
- Gomez is the Wolves' top scorer with five goals – all of which have come away from home.
- Over a quarter of Wolfsburg's goals have come in the 15 minutes before half-time.