The last week of Bundesliga action saw Wolfsburg hosting Borussia Monchengladbach. Both clubs have enjoyed great seasons after confirming their spots in the Europa League and ahead of this fixture there was a Champions League spot up for grabs. Whoever came out on top in this game would sneak into the top four, providing Bayer Leverkusen lost at home against Werder Bremen.
The hosts Wolfsburg have enjoyed this fixture more than their visitors but the last meeting produced an entertaining 2-2 draw. Wolfsburg managing to snatch a point with five minutes remaining. Gladbach went into this game with the unwanted record of failing to win away to Wolfsburg since a 1-3 victory all the way back in November 2003.
Wolfsburg started the game very well and looked very determined to get all three points. Perišić stung the hands of ter Stegen when he tried his luck from range.
Gladbach’s first good opportunity came when Perišić brought down Korb to stop a promising attack. It wasn’t the best freekick in from Arango but it managed to find it’s way to Kramer but the Leverkusen loanee could only put his chance wide.
After some Wolfsburg pressure Gladbach were able to slowly come back into the game. They almost punished Wolfsburg on the break, Kramer broke forward with support from both Raffael and Kruse, unfortunately a heavy touch let him down and the move was cut short on the edge of Wolfsburg’s area.
Wolfsburg had a number of promising attacks but struggled to test ter Stegen in the Gladbach goal. The lively De Bruyne was played through down the right thanks to a lovely back heel from Vieirinha, however the move didn’t come to much as De Bruyne slipped as he crossed and it bounced into ter Stegen’s arms. Soon after Wolfsburg came close to opening the scoring, Olić leapt the highest from a corner forcing ter Stegen into flicking the header over the bar.
On the half an hour mark Wolfsburg took the lead. Perišić robbed Raffael before going on to play a lovely ball through to De Bruyne, the Belgian raced down the left and had plenty of time to lift his head and comfortably curl his shot round ter Stegen.
Running towards goal De Bruyne teased Stranzl with his footwork but the teasing was finally put to a stop when Nordtveit clipped the young Belgians heels. Perišić stepped up to take the freekick but found himself being denied by the crossbar after brilliantly curling his effort over the wall.
One of the best chances of the game fell to Kruse five minutes before the break. Raffael slipped the ball through to the German striker who was one-on-one with Benaglio, Kruse tried to sneak his shot into the bottom corner but Benaglio reacted well to save.
Naldo had a fantastic chance to double his sides lead just before the break. The Brazilian won a header from a corner but despite the power it proved to be a comfortable save for ter Stegen due to the header being straight at him.
Half Time: Wolfsburg 1-0 Borussia Monchengladbach.
The entertainment continued into the second half and Wolfsburg almost doubled their lead early in the half. Perišić played a lovely one-two with De Bruyne before seeing his shot from close range fly past ter Stegen to hit the post, then the crossbar and finally striking the far post and staying out. Olić was first to the rebound but he could only direct his shot wide.
Olić almost found himself through on goal after a great pass through to him, unfortunately for him he was unable to control. This allowed Wendt to poke the ball away but this almost resulted in him scoring an own goal, his pass back forcing ter Stegen to flick the ball out of play.
Just after the hour mark Gladbach got themselves level when Raffael and Herrmann linked up well down the left. After Herrmann returned the ball back to Raffael the Brazilian was able to play the ball across goal to allow Kramer to easily tap in from a couple of yards out.
Gladbach weren’t able to stay level for long as four minutes later Wolfsburg restored their lead. Naldo smashed a curling shot from a freekick, ter Stegen was able to keep out the effort but he needed to make another save to stop Olić from scoring the rebound. However with a third attempt Wolfsburg were finally able to beat ter Stegen, with the keeper off his line Perišić was there to head over him.
Despite Raffael’s best efforts he wasn’t able to level things for Gladbach. Firstly he tried his luck from a tight angle, this saw the ball flash across goal and just past the far post. Secondly after a one-two with Kramer he found himself in a similar position to his earlier chance, this time he chose to cross but failed to find a team mate.
Nine minutes from time and Wolfsburg sealed all three points. A brilliantl corner in from Rodriguez saw Knoche lose his marker and excellently head the ball into the top corner from six yards out.
Gladbach managed to come close to a second late on. Xhaka was denied by Benaglio when he found himself in space inside the Wolfsburg area and then in the 90th minute Herrmann laid the ball off to Stranzl after skipping past Naldo, the centre back tried his luck from 25 yards out and saw his effort go narrowly wide.
FT: Wolfsburg 3-1 Borussia Monchengladbach.
It was an entertaining game between two sides that played some fantastic football. Overall Wolfsburg were the better side on the day and fully deserved the three points. Wolfsburg caused plenty of problems for the Gladbach defence, especially De Bruyne and Perišić who were a constant threat. Gladbach had their moments throughout the game but often lacked that last bit of quality needed in the final third, Kruse’s one-on-one miss in the first half will be one that could have changed the outcome of this game. Despite getting the win they needed Wolfsburg won’t be playing Champions League football next season after Leverkusen defeated Bremen 2-1.
Article for VAVEL Bundesliga.