Bundesliga: VfB Stuttgart shoots VfL Wolfsburg back into the crisis

“Schmadtke out” calls in the stadium

After losing the Champions League, VfL Wolfsburg is again in crisis in the Bundesliga. The Lower Saxony lost 2-0 (0-1) against VfB Stuttgart on Saturday evening and, after losing their fifth competitive game in a row, fell back to tenth place in the table in their only remaining competition. For the first time since he moved to Wolfsburg three and a half years ago, shouts of “Schmadtke out” against the VfL sports director could be heard in the stadium.

The Greek Konstantinos Mavropanos took the hammer out on his 24th birthday and hit in the 25th minute with a powerful long-range shot that hit the top right corner of the goal for VfB. Philipp Förster increased to 2-0 (63rd), Wolfsburg loan Omar Marmoush even missed a penalty in the 79th minute. After the injuries to Borna Sosa (back) and Niklas Nartey (knee) shortly before the game and Roberto Massimo just before the 0-1, this success was dearly paid for, but also necessary. Because after the victories of FC Augsburg and Berlin Hertha, Stuttgart would have dropped to 16th place in the event of a draw.

How tense the situation in Wolfsburg is was shown even before the kick-off. Sports director Schmadtke ended his weeks of public restraint and presented himself to his team and also to his trainer in a “Sky” interview. “VfL Wolfsburg is not the disgrace of German football,” replied the 57-year-old to what he thought was excessive criticism after the 3-1 defeat in the decisive Champions League group game against LOSC Lille. Florian Kohfeldt, who was only signed up in October, is also outside of any discussion. “Unfortunately, he has to pay for God’s things that are in the past,” said Schmadtke, referring to Kohfeldt’s predecessor Mark van Bommel.

However, the clear words of the experienced manager only had something of an effect in the first few minutes. VfL started out committed in front of 5,000 spectators, but quickly fell back into the courage, lack of ideas and drivelessness of the Lille game. Last year’s fourth even conceded the 0: 1 in excess, because Stuttgart’s Massimo was injured in a duel with Paulo Otávio in front of the goal, but was only replaced by Pascal Stenzel afterwards.

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In addition, that evening the Wolfsburg were even worse off than VfB in terms of injuries. The Belgian Aster Vranckx had to be replaced in the 21st minute. Paulo Otávio was carried out of the stadium at the beginning of the second half. The Brazilian twisted his neck in a running duel and slipped away.

Nothing came from his team in the second round either. No rearing up, no functioning pressing, let alone any goal threat. Lukas Nmecha missed the best opportunity miserably (69th). But that also took a mistake by the Stuttgart goalkeeper beforehand. Just like Lille on Wednesday evening, VfB was enough with disciplined defensive work and a few occasional counterattacks to get a three for the first time since winning the DFB Cup semi-finals in 2007 and after twelve duels in Wolfsburg.

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16 Lukas Nmecha (VfL Wolfsburg) – 5 goals in 14 games

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14 Moussa Diaby (Bayer 04) – 5 goals in 13 games

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14 Wout Weghort (VfL Wolfsburg) – 5 goals in 13 games

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13 Florian Wirtz (Bayer 04) – 5 goals in 12 games

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12 Ihlas Bebou (TSG Hoffenheim) – 5 goals in 11 games

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11 Stevan Jovetic (Hertha BSC) – 5 goals in 9 games

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10 Serge Gnabry (FC Bayern) – 6 goals in 15 games

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9 Sebastian Polter (VfL Bochum) – 6 goals in 14 games

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7 Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig) – 7 goals in 15 games

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7 Jonathan Burkardt (Mainz 05) – 7 goals in 15 games

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6 Jonas Hofmann (Gladbach) – 7 goals in 14 games

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5 Anthony Modeste (1. FC Köln) – 8 goals in 15 games

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4 Taiwo Awoniyi (Union Berlin) – 9 goals in 14 games

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3 Erling Haaland (BVB) – 11 goals in 9 games

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2 Patrik Schick (Bayer 04) – 12 goals in 11 games

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1 Robert Lewandowski (FC Bayern) – 16 goals in 15 games

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The 26-year-old forester was already noticed before the break with a solo over half the field (39th). After a good hour he met Tanguy Coulibaly after preliminary work by Sosa substitute. That some VfL fans shouted “We want to see you fight” afterwards happened quite often this season. “Schmadtke out!” Was new, however.

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