Mario Gomez's first-half penalty gave Wolfsburg a narrow aggregate lead following a tense first leg of the Wolves' relegation play-off with local rivals Eintracht Braunschweig.
Wolfsburg 1-0 Eintracht Braunschweig
Goals: 1-0 Gomez (pen. 35')
Typically for a local derby, there were plenty of meaty tackles in the tense opening exchanges. Wolfsburg settled quicker and enjoyed more of the ball, but only really threatened from set-pieces; visiting keeper Jasmin Fejzic saved well from Yunus Malli and Daniel Didavi. Mirko Boland then headed a gilt-edged chance wide at the other end, before – predictably – Wolfsburg took the lead from a dead-ball situation, Gomez's cool penalty sending Fejzic the wrong way ten minutes before the break.
The goal was the catalyst for the Wolves to bare their teeth after the interval: Didavi should have doubled the lead within minutes of the restart, but hit the side-netting. Fejzic was then forced into two fine stops in quick succession: saving from a deflected Gomez header and a Malli free-kick. The brief introduction of top-scorer Domi Kumbela gave the visitors more ballast up top in the final half-hour, but after he was withdrawn with an injury the hosts held firm and will take the narrowest of leads into Monday's second leg.
Wolfsburg may have a slim advantage going into the second leg, but Braunschweig will take plenty of positives from this performance. Although they tired late on, the Lions defended resolutely and had Boland taken his first-half chance, the complexion of the encounter could look rather different; given Eintracht's fine home record this season, though, the tie remains wide open.
- Didavi fired in seven shots on goal.Wolfsburg enjoyed 54 per cent of possession.The Wolves sent in 14 shots to Braunschweig's nine.
Wolfsburg: Casteels - Träsch, Knoche, Wollscheid, Gerhardt - Guilavogui (Arnold, 72'), Luiz Gustavo (c) - Didavi (Dejagah, 83'), Malli, Ntep (Vieirinha, 46') – Gomez
Coach: Andries Jonker
Braunschweig: Fejzic - Sauer, Decarli, Valsvik, Reichel - Hernandez, Moll (Schönfeld, 60'), Boland, Hochscheidt - Omladic, Nyman (Kumbela, 60' [Zuck, 72'])
Coach: Torsten Lieberknecht