Wolfsburg move to second place in Bundesliga with win over Stuttgart
Werder Bremen collected its first win of the season while VfL Wolfsburg,powered by another standout Kevin DeBruyne performance, claimed second place in the table with a convincing victory at Stuttgart as the afternoon Bundesliga session set the stage for the Bayern-Borussia Dortmund Saturday night showdown.
Bremen edged FSV Mainz, 2-1 while Wolfsburg rolled past VfB Stuttgart, 4-0. There were also afternoon 1-0 wins for Hamburger SV, over Bayer Leverkusen, and Hannover 96, who used an own goal to top Eintracht Frankfurt.
In Mainz, when joint-top Bundesliga scorer Shinji Okazaki had his side in front after just four minutes, it looked like more of the same for Viktor Skripnik’s Bremen which came into the match with just four draws from their first nine starts.
But the visitors got even in the 43rd minute even though Loris Karius saved Franco DiSanto’s penalty kick. The Mainz keeper could only palm the ball up in the air and DiSanto raced in to head the rebound into the empty net. It was Karius’ foul on Fin Bartels that had given Werder Bremen the penalty in the first place.
Then DiSanto put Bremen on top four minutes after the interval when he beat the trap perfectly so was alone to a flighted pass from Felix Kroos that set up the straight forward finish.
Wolfsburg needed only 15 minutes to get on top at Stuttgart. Ivan Perisic won a heading duel with Antonio Rudiger, spun 35 yards out and raced in on the left side to open the account, then the Europa League participants increased their edge in first half stoppage time.
DeBruyne, perhaps the best summer acqusition in the Bundesliga, floated a free kick into the box where Robin Knoche got his head on it six yards own to make it 2-0. The Belgian got on the scoreboard himself in the 48th minute when his far post run was anticipated by Vieirinha’s perfect cross, then finished his master class by setting up Perisic for a second goal a minute from normal time.
The contest in Hamburg, which featured nine yellow cards, boiled over just before halftime with lots of pushing, shoving and chat following a yellow card to HSV’s Valom Behrami in the 42nd minute. There was more drama as the teams left the field for the interval with referee Florian Meyer showing to yellow to Dennis Deikmeier of the home team and Giulio Donati of Leverkusen.
Bernd Leno’s hasty charge and contact with Marcell Jansen in the 26th minute had allowed Rafael van der Vaart to put Hamburg ahead from the penalty spot. It turned out be all that HSV needed to win for just the second time this year and climb out of the bottom three at the final whistle.
Leverkusen, which heads back into Champions League next week, had a last-gasp chance but Karim Bellarabi could not equalize.
Alexander Madlung, who deflected a header past his own keeper in the 88th minute, gave Hannover their three points when the match appeared to be heading to a tame 0-0 finish.