Wolfsburg’s dire form continued as they suffered a 3-2 home defeat at the hands Hertha Berlin.
Despite taking the lead on two occasions the German giants blew the opportunity to take any points from the match with the Lower Saxony outfit completely self-destructing in the final few moments by getting a man sent off and conceding a penalty which led to Hertha’s match winning goal.
Wolfsburg struck first in the 12th minute through Real Madrid loanee Borja Mayoral. Mayoral was the source of the attack with his run past the half-way line and his beating of Hertha’s midfielder Stark being a good breaking of ground for the attack.
He soon offloaded the ball with a short pass to Arnold who quickly played a lengthy ball to Gerhardt on the left. On the left flank Gerhardt’s excellent footwork was good enough to force Hertha’s captain to hit the deck and with the free space, the German winger cut into the box and ran for the byline from where he unleashed a cross.
His chipped cross found Caligiuri with pin-point accuracy. The Italian midfielder headed the ball at goal only to be denied by a fantastic finger-tip stop from Jarstein. But despite Jarstein’s best efforts the ball still found its way into the back of the net with the rebound being snuffed out by Mayoral who volleyed over the helpless Hertha defenders on the line. This marked the 19 year-old’s first ever Bundesliga goal.
Wolfsburg’s lead only lasted a measly four minutes as Marvin Plattenhardt’s goal gave Hertha an equaliser. The left-back’s marvellous left-footed free kick rose above the Wolfsburg and flew into the left-hand side of the net.
But two minutes after this Wolfsburg retook the lead through Seguin. Gerhardt’s ambitious ball from the half-way line ended up breaching the Hertha defence and playing German midfielder Paul Seguin through on goal. The 21 year old controlled the ball excellently with his first touch which brought the ball into the box.
Running to the left of the box he ran around the ball and hit a low right footed shot. Seguin handled the one-on-one perfectly and his shot went beyond Jarstein and into the bottom right corner, this goal was the last of the half, promising first-half display from a young Wolfsburg side struggling to find their feet.
Wolfsburg were pegged back yet again when Alexander Esswein’s long-range goal found the back of the net 24 minutes into the second half. Plattenhardt’s cross was headed away by Bruma in defence, the ball then landing at the feet of Lustenberger who then played a short sideways pass to Esswein. The former Wolfsburg player took one touch then with his right-foot hit a fantastically accurate shot from well outside the box. The low shot bounced across the box and into the bottom left corner going beyond all the Wolfsburg players in the box and Benaglio in between the sticks.
Things went further downhill for Wolfsburg when goalscorer Seguin saw a red card when pulling Kalou’s shirt earned him a second yellow card with 3 minutes of normal time left to play. Wolfsburg’s discipline was brought further into question when Daniel Caligiuri gave away a penalty in stoppage time. The Italian clumsily brought down Plattenhardt with the midfielder racing down the left flank, a gratuitous penalty to give away.
Kalou converted the subsequent penalty sending the Volkswagen Arena into a hush, the crowd dismayed at their team completely throwing away the game. It finished Wolfsburg 2-3 Hertha Berlin.
Wolfsburg’s inexplicably torrid home form continues. The young squad are suffering from the harsh decrease in form and Valérien Ismaël’s lack of leadership and experience from the touchline is shining through. Ismael will be feeling the pressure and one wonders if Wolfsburg will be appointing their third manager of the season sometime soon.
Wolfsburg also look set to lose Julian Draxler who was jeered by the home crowd after coming on as a substitution after openly requesting a move away from the club.
This defeat marks Wolfsburg fourth consecutive defeat and home and their seventh home game without a win, with the last win coming on the final day of the 2015-16 season. Wolfsburg are 15th in the table on 10 points and only 2 points above the relegation play-off area.
Hertha Berlin are flying yet again. Building on their impressive seventh last season they have fought their way up to third in the table. The team will have to continue working hard for their top 3 spot as the likes of Hoffenheim, Frankfurt and Dortmund are making the battle for the Champions League spots a monumental one.